Another blog post on the teaching of improvisation? Yes. When you consider that we all come from differing backgrounds, training, instruction, and preferences. Mix all of this together and you begin to see how complex it can get. Instructors come to the teaching of improvisation with a set of skills that have been honed through gigging, practice, and study. The study of scales, modes, and chords end up in our mental and physical tool kit and we call upon them when we improvise and when we teach students to do it themselves.
Without question, there have been, and still are, great improvisers in all genres who have had little or no formal training in music in any way but can improvise freely and masterfully. Remember that these musicians have the gift of “hearing” and can play what they hear on their instruments with ease.
For most the best way to learn or improve on improvisational skills is to do it every day. There is no substitute for good old-fashioned woodshedding. The amount of material available today is staggering. So, we should see a great resurgence in improvising and a rise in its popularity right?
Getting students to practice improvising is not easy as it throws them into the “unknown”. This is the land that few dare to travel to especially in the early stages of awkwardness on the guitar. Once self-assuredness and confidence build up, skill development in improvisation can blossom.
We will look at the unlimited amount of help that is available with the explosion of music software that is at everyone’s fingertips. Most importantly, approaches must be taken to get students to actively “practice” improvisation on their own. Music, and the guitar need to be an active part of the student’s life at home and with his or her circle of friends and family.
In the upcoming posts I will call upon my teaching and playing experience to dissect a methodology that works as a global template of sorts. This template must, and should, be fluid and adaptable meeting the varied (sometimes severly) learning styles of each student you instruct.