Improvisation is a powerful tool for any musician, and it can be especially beneficial for songwriters. Not only does it allow you to quickly come up with new ideas, but it can also help you to develop your own unique style. In this article, we will discuss an improvisation exercise that you can use to sharpen your songwriting skills, especially if you’re new to improvisation.
The improvisation exercise is simple: take the chords of an existing song, and improvise new melodies on top of them. The idea here isn’t to write a song this way, but to work on your improvisational skills. By working with new chord progressions, you can learn to think creatively and come up with new melodies quickly.
If you’re new to improvisation, you can actually start with the melodies of the original song, and gently start to edit them. You can extend and omit some notes, and then start by changing a small number of notes. Gradually, it will feel more comfortable to make it your own.
To get started, choose a song that you like, and write down the chords. You can find the chords to most songs online, or you can figure them out yourself by listening to the song and playing along on your instrument. Once you have the chords, try improvising new melodies on top of them. Don’t worry about making it perfect, just let your mind flow and see where it takes you.
One of the keys to this improvisation exercise is to keep an open mind. Don’t be afraid to try new things, even if they don’t sound good at first. Sometimes, the best ideas come from mistakes or unexpected turns. Additionally, try to focus on the overall feeling of the song, rather than the individual notes. This will help you to create a melody that fits the song and feels natural.
As you work on this exercise, you may find that certain chords inspire you more than others.
Pay attention to these chords and try to understand why they appeal to you. This can help you to identify your own musical preferences and develop your own unique style.
In addition to working with existing songs, you can also try this exercise with your own songs. Take a song you’ve written and try improvising new melodies on top of the chords. This will help you to come up with new ideas for your song and see how different melodies can change the overall feel of the song.
Another way to make this exercise more challenging and fun is to set a timer for yourself. Give yourself 5-10 minutes to improvise on a set of chords, and see how many different melodies you can come up with in that time. This will help you to develop your improvisational skills and learn to think creatively under pressure.
In conclusion, improvisation is a powerful tool for any musician, and it can be especially beneficial for songwriters. By working with existing songs and improvising new melodies on top of the chords, you can sharpen your songwriting skills and develop your own unique style. If you’re new to improvisation, start with editing the melodies of the original song, then gradually make it your own. Don’t be afraid to experiment and take risks, and remember to have fun with this improvisation exercise!