Have you ever wanted to create your own unique piano songs? Just simple pieces that express how you feel? You can if you learn how to improvise first and then learn how to compose. Here’s why.
Improvising allows you to express what you feel without constraint. In essence, it’s like freewriting because the goal is to free your unique voice without worry of right or wrong, good or bad. It is a skill that students should learn once they’ve got the fundamentals down, and is foundational for further success at composing. Once you are able to sit down at the piano and can trust your intuition to guide you, you’re ready to compose.
Composition is really just slowed down improvisation. You take the initial inspirational gem you’ve discovered through improv and flesh it out using the tools of repetition and contrast. For example, in the lesson “Waiting for Spring,” we learn how to create a simple ABA form in the Key of C.
The key here is that we already know the piece will be an ABA form so how do we proceed? Easily! The way I do it is I write out the first 8-bars and then improvise to see what will come up. Once I’m onto something, I write out the first 2-bars of the melody so I can remember it. Then I use chords from the Key of C Major to finish the first 8-bars; my (A) section. Another 8-bars or so for my (B) section and I’m done! The arrangement of this easy piano song usually works itself out to play the (A) section twice, (B) section once, back to the (A) section and you’re done. Most of the time, this comes out to about 2-3 minutes of music.
The important thing for creating your own piano songs is that you must be able to move forward and complete sections of music. This is best accomplished when you can improvise freely first!
Give it a go and let us know how you get on and what you come up with.