Piano lessons can be fun: learning to improvise first

Music symbolsIn Edward Weiss’s press release he argues that simply learning notes, whilst great for being able to play other people’s music, is not effective at allowing pianists to learn how to create and play their own music.

Imagine a writer forced to copy another novelists work. Insane right? But that’s essentially what people do when they recreate another composers work. It is not a creative act but a recreative one because while the pianist’s interpretation may be artistic, it does not mean that he created something original.

Whilst he doesn’t say that there’s no worth in playing other people’s music—indeeed, I personally think great pleasure can be obtained both by player and listeners by learning and playing great composers’ piano works—he believes that musicians should learn how and why music is constructed in the way that it is.

Learn piano the easy way first. Learn how to first improvise, then compose your own music. This skill is invaluable even if you do read music because you begin to see how the thing is made and once you can see this, your appreciation of it will increase tenfold!

I agree with his sentiments, though I would never discourage anyone from learning to play the great piano works to the best of their abilities, either.

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Yet I can also testify that there is a lot to be learnt and enjoyed from improvising and experimenting with music, something that doesn’t so readily come from merely reading on a printed stave. You don’t have to be a jazz pianist to improvise, either.

Read the full press release: Piano Lessons Can Be Fun!