Mistake #6: Not Giving Enough Time To Creativity

In my pre jazz guitar days, I fell victim to this insidious mistake, and now realise how stifling not enough giving time to improvise can be for any musician.

Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely times where it is more suited to playing a pre-prepared arrangement, however if you don’t spend time on improvising in the practice room you can not only stifle the ability to play with other musicians easily, but actually hamper your technique as well. More on that later.

Here are some of the key benefits of improvisation:

  • Improvising helps you to learn to match your ear with the sound of the guitar very closely. This means that you have a much greater chance of recovery if you happen to make a mistake while you are performing. Someone who does not have these skills will really struggle to recover a performance if things go wrong (which at some point will happen – so it’s best to be prepared),
  • Being confident with your improvisation gives you the ability to perform or jam with others at short notice. This is not only good socially but could lead to more work as a guitarist if you are a professional,
  • Improvisation uses scale and arpeggio patterns and so you get to practice them at the same time doing something expressive and creative,
  • Improvising is fun! It’s a challenging way to think laterally and creatively and is really beneficial for your overall musical skills and your mind in general.

So how do you get your improvisation to the next level? By visiting the FretDojo.com blog (of course!) I will be posting regular videos on the topic to share what I know, both on single line soloing as well as the often sought after advice on chord soloing. I’m motivated to do this as it can be quite difficult to find a good teacher on the topic and I’ve had the benefit of having some great teachers on improvisation over the years.

Improvisation is the fundamental skills of a jazz guitarist, but should be a fundamental skill of any musician, of any style.

In the next instalment of this guide we are going to look at the thing that masters of the guitar and ancient Indian Yogis have in common. Ahah! I see that got your attention. See you in the next one.

~ Greg from FretDojo


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