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Popular Piano Lessons: Improvisation Exercise: Amazing Grace - Part 11-15

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Now, once you have this comfortable,
again, we can start to
apply different rhythms.
So, for example, if I'm playing a three
four instead of just playing one note for
each beat, I can do something like this,
one, two, three.
One, two, three, one, two, three.
Taking the first two notes and
playing them faster.
In this case,
I can play them like eighth notes which
are twice as fast as quarter notes.
play around with
If you wanna play them as broken
chords that also sounds very nice.
Or, single notes, or
with some sort of a rhythm in between.
Now, when we play Amazing Grace,
we've got this space here,
where your right hand
is not doing much and
you can certainly fill it up
with the left hand by playing different
notes of the harmony that you're in.
Let's explore ways to fill
in the right hand now.
And this will be a great way of entering
into harmonizing the right hand,
so that your left hand is not
the only one making chords.
To start,
you have to understand what key you're in.
So here in this
held note, we know we're in D major.
So I can use notes from the D major chord,
and apply them to the right hand as well.
We have an F sharp and an A.
So I've got one note over here and
if I wanted to,
since I want to keep my melody on the top.
I'll just look for
the other notes of that D major chord.
So, one simple way to fill it up would be
to simply play other notes
of the D major chord.
So if I
it makes it a lot more interesting to have
both hands filling in with
notes from the D major chord,
whenever you have an opportunity.
You always want to look for fills whenever
you're holding a melodic note for
a long time, and
there's nothing else happening.
Instead of just waiting for
the rhythm to count itself out,
you wanna help your listener feel
the beat, by these fill notes.
So, give that a try.
And this is what I mean,
might be an instance where,
you can just simplify your left hand so
it doesn't compete with your right hand.
With an open, outline of a chord, or
even just
maybe a combination of filling the right
hand, and then the left hand.
Again, more colors for your palet.
So far we've been using chords for
creating harmonies in the left hand, and
we started exploring using chords for
basic fills.
Let's expand on that a little bit more,
and let's step away from chords.
Another fill option, instead of just
playing the notes from the first, third,
and fifth steps of the scale is to
play a bit of the scale itself.
Again, this is gonna involve at least
knowing what the first five notes
of any given scale are gonna be.
So, and this is where you'll really
wanna refer to Jonathan Coopersmith's
excellent series on theory.
This is where theory makes
all the sense in the world.
With a strong theory foundation,
then you can start really creating
your own improvisations that
are much more interesting.
To do so, you really need to start
understanding how scales are made.
Anyway, let's just start
with the simple ones.
Okay, so
you can fill it,
with the first five notes
of a D major scale.
So it would sound like this.
Here's the fill.
Very nice.
It gives you a little bit of
something else more interesting,
rhythmically interesting,
to experiment with.
Let's take a look at some more fill ideas.
Now typically,
your melody will be the highest note.
But what if you want to expand above that?
So you get to a fill,
nothing else is happening.
Why not go above it a little
bit using the same ideas?
So I'm just playing instead of ending up
on a pinkie I'm just gonna move my
thumb so I can play a D major chord.
[SOUND] One note at a time right above it.
That's another idea or how about this?
Do the same notes, [SOUND] but
change the order around.
Again, let's take the fill
idea even a little bit further.
Remember we were talking
about adding scales.
Here's another idea.
Remember we were going above the note.
You can do the same notes, but
go the opposite direction coming down.
Once you understand the notes you
are working with, the chords that you
are working with, this is where
improvisation gets to be a lot of fun.
You can play so many different ways
using the tools of the chords then
the notes that are comprising them.
Here's one more idea for you.
This gets a little bit more advanced.
What if we combined a scale and a chord?
Or, at least a broken chord?
Listen to this one.
we're starting to sound
really interesting.
So, you see what I've done?
I'm taking the first three notes of the
scale, and instead of going onto the next
note, the fourth note,
I'm gonna skip to the fifth note.
And if I wanna jump up higher,
I'll use my thumb to connect that.
So, that's an example of combining scales
and a little bit of the chord
structure that you've just learned.