If you can feel it, you might as well try it!
To quote a great inspiration to me and probably most of you (more about him later) : “If you can feel it, you might as well try it”.
But first, I want to recall a story from when I used to share lyric duties for a band some years back. Our vocalist, whose written English was better than mine, used to ask me how did I manage to come up with what in his opinion where better lyrics than his. My answer used to be that what I presented to the band would be the 5th or 6th draft, as in actual fact, I would have written down and corrected a lot. With every draft, I would let the words talk to me as a piece of art themselves, seaving the horseshit from the gold in a bunch of hay if you will.
How I differed from him was that I never expected amazing lyrics to come out at my 1st attempt, but would rather let the good parts shine through the bad parts as I re-read them over and over again. Guess I was doing nothing that a novelist would not do when writing a book, and as soon as he applied that approach, we were now both writing amazing lyrics!
Similarly, let us now bring this to the table of how to become a good improviser, which we all know is music made on the spot without time to allow oneself for drafts. But in actual fact, drafts do happen, in our practice time before taking the stage. So what I generally suggest to my students is –
RECORD YOUR SOLOS. LISTEN BACK TO THEM & SEAVE OUT YOUR OWN GOLDEN LICKS.
GO BACK TO THE GUITAR, FIND THEM & USE THEM TO GENERATE NEW GOLDEN ONES.
Time and time again, I have found that this approach has made them understand that the fire only burns the 1st time, and once you know how to walk it without getting burnt, it will become fun every time. And it works! Every time without fail.
So now to the quote above, taken from leading guitarist Mr Joe “Satch” Satriani!
With “If you can feel it, you might as well try it” what Satch is telling us is that after hours of training and singing scales (your drafts), melodies and fingerings become sort of attached to each other with less effort. So when you are actually creating music on the spot, whatever you hear in your head can be translated onto your fingers. Be adventurous!
The main thing is knowing how and where to resolve, purposely repeating “mistakes” before resolving. The safe move for this is to always play a semi-tone up or down to find the note that sounds right (within the key), as explained in detail via my related blogs www.malcolmcallus.com/fingerboard and www.malcolmcallus.com/jazz.
Meanwhile, I let you off with good old Satch doing some explaining himself …..
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