Playing Music For Pure Enjoyment

To me, the most enjoyable, and relaxing thing I can do, is to improvise music. Nobody needs to be listening, and I’m not striving for any goal. I do it purely for the enjoyment of it.

In improvising music (making up your own tunes), probably the easiest, and most enjoyable form of it, is to improvise music with the music of others.

In this article, I’m supplying one of my own improvisations for you to improvise your own music along with, and giving you some easy tips on how to do it.

Certainly, it will be enjoyable for players of the KeyMusician Keyboard, but even if all you have is an ordinary piano, or an ordinary synthesizer (having a traditional music keyboard), you can do this.

Surprisingly, even if you are a non-musician, but have access to a piano or synthesizer, you can do this! If the only musical instrument you have is your own voice, you can hum (or sing) your own tune with it, so you can do this.

Back When We Were Young

I think all of us have in our history, a time when music was a wonderful world of sounds and rhythm - a world we were eager to explore. 

We probably started out humming, or banging on pots and pans, or maybe plunking out notes on a piano. 

It was a wonderful journey of exploration, possibly cut short by some adult exclaiming, "Stop that awful racket," or perhaps, "Stop pounding on that piano!" 

We can go back to that ‘wonder of childhood’ world, even in our adulthood or old age.  We just have to silence that critical voice that probably holds sway in our minds.  That critical voice in our minds, can prevent us from improvising altogether.

Just tell it to go away, or (if there are others around), set up to play music using earphones. 

If It’s Hard To Silence Your Critical Inner Voice

One person I taught to improvise music, had a really hard time doing it.  This puzzled me, because it was very easy for my daughter Jennifer, and it was her favorite thing to do. And I’ve been able to teach this to many people at community events.

And after a few days of trying, he started improvising just fine.

I asked him recently what he did to get 'over the hump' in learning to improvise.

He said he had (from school) a terrible fear of making mistakes (in this case, playing the wrong notes), and didn't want to look bad in front of me (a life-long musician), even though he knew I would not be critical.

What he did, was put himself into a bored state-of-mind (when trying to improvise), just letting his fingers play notes - he didn't care which notes, because he was bored.

He said that in that bored state, the critical part of his mind went away - it wasn't interested.  Then (as if by magic), his creative mind was free, and he started improvising pretty well.

I think it's similar to how in school, students are supposed to be taking notes in class.  But when you look at those notes, all you see is artful pictures, doodled in that bored state of mind. Being bored causes the critical part of us to go away (it's not interested), leaving our artistic side to create.

Let’s Play Music Together!

Now that you are free from critical people (or even worse, your critical self), let's explore! 

We're going to play music together, which is the easiest, quickest, and most enjoyable way to play music. 

First download the MP3 file of the link below, and put it where you can play it on your favorite audio player.  You could also just play it with your web-browser by left-clicking on the link. To download the MP3 file, right-click on the link, and choose “Save Link As”, or whatever similar thing your browser gives you in its pop-up menu for downloading the file.

Aere's Piano-Background Improvisation

Then get your instrument ready to play.  Assuming you have a keyboard instrument, such as a piano or synthesizer, the music will be on all white keys, which makes it simple.  If you use the KeyMusician Keyboard, use the default key-signature, which is no flats or sharps, and choose your favorite instrument sound. 

This preparation may have you up-tight, so slow down your breathing, and relax.  In a relaxed state, the long-time critical internal voices are less likely it intrude. 

Start your audio player, playing the attached piece you downloaded.  Using the KeyMusician Keyboard, be sure to click on its main window to give the application access to the keyboard.

Notice the piece is slow, and relaxed.  You won't have to play any fast notes, or hurry to keep up.  It's super easy. 

Start by playing any white-key note - it doesn't matter which note.  If it doesn't sound like a note that's good to linger on, move on to a different note.  You can even go up, or down notes of the scale, searching for that ideal note to linger on, and when you find it, linger. 

But of course, the music will move on, and different notes will sound better to linger on. 

Just keep playing new notes, lingering where it sounds right, moving on to new notes if not. 

As you do this, you may notice you come up with a tune - a simple tune, that goes along with my tune.  That's great if you do.  But just keep playing along.  The more you do it, the better you get at it. 

Try to keep your critical inner voice from intruding.  If it sounds good, it is good.  That's the only rule.  Just relax, and play along. 

At first, it may seem like you’re stumbling around, but toward the end of the piece (or on a second or third playing of it), you’ll get the hang of it.

If you're lucky (or as you get better), you may enter a sort of magical dream state, where the music you make up seems to just flow, and everything sounds good. 

Can I Do This With Tunes On The Radio?

You could, but with the things we’re doing here to keep it simple, it will only work if the piece playing in the radio is in the key of C-major, or A-minor. It might work for awhile, but there will be ‘sour-notes’ occasionally, or often if the piece has a lot of flats or sharps in the key-signature.

We have a tutorial you can use to learn how to determine the key-signature, at:

Improvising Your Own Music With Audio Files

Knowing that, you could do it on the KeyMusician Keyboard (where you can set the key-signature to match), or on a piano keyboard if you are a skilled enough pianist to easily play in any key-signature.

What you improvise has to be in the same key-signature as the music you’re improvising with.

Give improvising music with the music of others a try, and enjoy!

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