Prior to this post I said I would be posting improv audio clips. But I can’t yet because he software I have on my computer isn’t recording right. I want to put sound up on the site so that I can actually document what unfolds over time. I can get around the computer problems by figuring out what is wrong with my computer, but I think the better thing to do is to get a very simple MP3 recorder. My computer is old and gigantic and getting it to and from the piano may shorten its life span and mine.
I have no audio to post yet, but I can still document my improv experience here in writing. I can say that when I thought I was recording I felt critical of what I was playing. To keep in the right mindset, I need to avoid self judgement. I can look at ways to improvise better for sure, and that is what I will do, but I need to take any sort of personal ego out of the equation. Right now I find this situation frightening.
Reflecting on today and yesterday, I think I can improvise better if I put a limit on what I am allowed to play. This adds some facet of form and can help me concentrate. For example, I could improvise where my playing is based on the interval of the fourth; C to F to Bb for example. Or I could do an improv that is only allowed one note at a time. Or maybe I could do one where there are more rests than notes.
When everything is allowed I find, at this point, that I drift along and lack direction. I have been ending up with minutes of material that sound like movie music by a composer whose name you wouldn’t know. I am principally looking to rebuild mental muscle for musical concentration, and aimless improvising will not only fail to do that, but worse it could train me to become an aimless improvisor. Time will tell.