Covid19 Isolation Improvisation Series

Updated: Apr 20

Since the start of lockdown I have been sifting through ideas and ruminating on what I have learnt through the last year. I thought a good way of doing this would be to post a few varied improvisations, which you can find over on my YouTube. I was planning to do roughly one every day or two days, however I think ten is a nice rounded number to leave it on for now so that I can make a start on some more involved composition. I may well start it up again if I feel I have a few different learnt techniques to share.


Something that I worked on a lot of last year was rhythm and time signature. I rarely used to play to a metronome, often finding them a little rigid and restrictive but have since found them hugely useful when getting your head around new time signatures that you wouldn't normally play in. I have improvised so much in five and seven time that I sometimes find it hard to play in four time, which just shows how your brain remembers and gets used to time, after repetition.


Another aspect of my playing that I have been working on is hand independence, getting my left hand to play more than arpeggiated or stagnant chords. Its an easy habit for me to get into, letting the right hand do all the moving and sticking to a more consistent left hand but I have found it limiting when I have ideas to move in harmony or mirror passages etc. To strengthen my left hand I have gone back to basic scale exercises and a little bit of the tausig exercise as well though that is still in slow progress. I find its my fourth and third fingers that tend to falter and so just paying particular attention to those as well.


I would like to increase my output, though more on the composition side of things as I have done so much improvisation in the past. Composition wise naturally I tend to be more reserved in finishing things, I find it difficult to spend more than a day on the same project, to go back the next day and keep going. I think its because I am so used to moving and changing my music with how I feel, what I want to do, which tend to be evolving and changing by the day. On a new day I always feel like starting a new. Its something I would like to break the habit of so that I can realise more of my ideas hopefully in a more complete form.


If you have any thoughts or feedback feel free to send them my way. Hope you are staying safe and well in these strange times and maybe I will see you on the other side. I am hoping to do more live concert performances in the future so do keep an eye if you are interested in coming along.


Thanks,

Johan

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