PDA

View Full Version : Improvisation?



RawrGazzawrs
07-02-2012, 03:18 PM
So I've recently been getting into improvisation recently and was hoping to hear some tips from people on the forums. I've been messing around the tune of Me & Shirley T by Jake Shimabukuro mostly, but I wanna get better.
So any tips? :)

janeray1940
07-02-2012, 03:22 PM
There was a recent discussion about this (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?63500-What-s-the-Step-between-Learning-Scales-and-Improv-Soloing&highlight=improvisation) that raised some really good points.

Things that have helped me: learning scales and actually practicing them; playing with others (one person plays chords while you improvise); and my instructor's advice to approach improvisation as a response to the melody.

Ukulele JJ
07-02-2012, 03:23 PM
My only tip would be to keep doin' what you're doin'. "Mess around" with songs. Use your ears. Have fun.

I mean, you can learn and practice scales and riffs all day long. But in the end, it's all about coming up with an idea and being able to get your fingers to play it.

JJ

RawrGazzawrs
07-02-2012, 03:27 PM
But in the end, it's all about coming up with an idea and being able to get your fingers to play it.

JJ

Hah, if only I could play exactly what i hear in my head. Hopefully I can reach that level of playing one day x)

janeray1940
07-02-2012, 03:29 PM
Hah, if only I could play exactly what i hear in my head. Hopefully I can reach that level of playing one day x)

That's exactly what practicing scales has helped me with! When you know what key you're in, and what interval you're hearing in your head, your hand knows where to go next.

DallasOz
07-02-2012, 05:15 PM
Hah, if only I could play exactly what i hear in my head. Hopefully I can reach that level of playing one day x)

The thing that really got me to be able to play what I hear in my head was to pick any note on the fingerboard then sing that note and then a little melody starting on that note, then try to play the corresponding melody on the fingerboard. If you start out simple then you may be surprised at how quicly your fingers begin playing what your head is "humming' if that makes sense. This is also useful for those of us that hate learning scales.

nohoval_turrets
07-02-2012, 06:31 PM
The temptation is to let your fingers do the improvising. It becomes a mechanical rather than a musical exercise, and you end up just throwing out random bits of scales, or following standard paths. You can find interesting things this way sometimes, but really you need to be letting your mind wander musically, with the fingers following rather than leading.

Know your scales, and know them all over the fretboard. You don't need to learn them all at once - pick a key and learn that scale everywhere, and know how to move around the positions. Learn the actual names of the notes, and be aware of them as you play.

The key to improvisation is to be able to play by ear. Take a melody and play it. If you can't do that reasonably proficiently then you won't be able to do anything but random noodling when you improvise. Take melodies as complicated as you can handle - jazz tunes with strong melodic lines are great - and then start adding other notes here and there to make simple harmonies.

Once you can do this by ear, you're ready to head off on your own.

When improvising, you still need a tight structure to improvise over. Choose simple chord progressions at first - your I IIm Vs and so on. Try to emphasise the chords rather than the melody at first - otherwise you'll get lost easily.

Try not to improvise endlessly - go around your progression twice, and try to get to a satisfying finish, and then just strum your progression twice through. Repeat a few times, but again, try to reach a definite end.

Well, that's my advice.

pulelehua
07-03-2012, 04:36 AM
A former guitar teacher of mine, Miroslav Tadic, gave me the following advice:

Sing what you play.

That is, as you play the note, sing what it is. You get instant feedback to tell you if you're right or wrong. Eventually, what you'll find is that you can sing something, and quickly in your head work out what the notes are on the ukulele. Most people come up with different melodic ideas singing than they do with their fingers. Usually, your voice is more directly obeying your musical sensibilities, while your fingers are doing what you've taught them to do, which for most of us, is limiting.

I often find that working this way, I use fewer notes. I stay on one idea for longer. I play with more taste and patience.

Still don't sound 1/10 as good as Miroslav.........

nohoval_turrets
07-03-2012, 05:04 AM
your voice is more directly obeying your musical sensibilities

I like that! I'll steal it. [... files away for future use ...]

patico
07-04-2012, 09:10 PM
sing or whistle what you are playing, and when you breath, let the melody rest as well.

(tip to avoid those endless lines of unending solos)