Successful Black Key Improvisation

Edward Weiss

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What a great instrument the piano is - white keys, black keys, and 88 tones make it incredibly versatile!

Most students take it upon themselves to try and master this instrument. They begin to learn note reading and go through a series of books before they are ready to play the music of the masters.

If only they realized that a world of free improvisation was waiting for them on the black keys, they too could experience the joy of improvisation right away. They might even forget about note-reading for a while and actually enjoy themselves as actual music was being made.

For example, take the lesson “Oriental Sunrise. " This is a black key improvisation based on the E flat minor pentatonic scale. Now, when most people hear the term “black key improvisation" they think of children banging on the piano creating some kind of noise. And while this has its place, the adult can create quite a beautiful sound by using only the black keys.

The secret is in how the keys are played. Anyone can go to the piano, sit down and play. The keys are there and are readily accessible. However, one person may just plunk around while another is able to create music. It's all about sensitivity! The sensitive musician is able to create music using only a few notes. The non-musician can not. They have to learn to get in touch with themselves first.

If you can go to the piano, play a black key improvisation, and make it sound like music, you are way, way ahead of the game! You understand that it's not how many notes or chords you know, it's how they are played that makes the difference!

Edward Weiss is a pianist/composer and webmaster of Quiescence Music's online piano lessons . He has been helping students learn how to play piano in the New Age style for over 14 years and works with students in private, in groups, and now over the internet. Stop by now at for a FREE piano lesson!


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