Music Theory

Techniques to learn Piano improvisation

Now we will start with a scheme of notions and exercises you need to compose in real time at the piano that is to improvise the music you have inside in ideas and emotions. This scheme is a way to learn this magical art.

You must know every point at the best.

piano improvisation techniques

Learning to improvise on the piano

  • Major an minor scales, triad arpeggios
  • A quite good score reading
  • A good technique and hand position at the piano
  • Major and minor (harmonic, melodic and natural) scale
  • Knowledge of all chords deriving from major and minor scale harmonization and their position (grade) in the scale
  • All chord inversions in the whole keyboard with both hands (major chord seventh, seventh dominant, minor seventh, half diminished, seventh diminished)
  • Left hand (voicings) and right chord positions in the different styles (jazz, blues, pop)
  • Improvising on a chord just using the notes of the chord itself (fundamental, third, fifth, seventh one)
  • Improvising on two or more chords just using chordal notes
  • Accompaniment for a singer or in a group (chord voicings and arrangement techniques)

Intermediate technique of piano improvisation

  • Improvising on an harmonic progression just using chordal notes
  • Stressing the upbeat with eights continuously and then with quarters, creating a swing rhythm
  • Melody construction and rules application, just using correct notes
  • Blues, diminished and whole tone scales
  • Ear development with solo transcriptions and their transposition in different tonalities
  • Chords substitutions and Lydian chromatic concept

Advanced techniques of piano improvisation

Other exercises to learn improvisation

Listening to the great piano improvisors like Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Oscar Peterson, McCoy Tyner, Bud Powell, and Michael Petrucciani.