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Students At Music House Learn Improvisation And Songwriting

 by Terri Paglusch

Space Jam band

At Music House, not only do our student bands play awesome covers of great songs, they also perform original songs written by the band members. Writing songs is something we do at Music House. A lot! 

Our Mastery level bands write original songs on a regular basis, but so do our entry level Expansion bands. The reason our bands can write their own songs is because, at Music House, we start teaching students to write songs from the beginning. 

Guitar class students write their first original class song shortly after they learn to play a few chords and strum patterns. Piano class students are taught to improvise over a scale to create a melody or solo part. Drum students begin to learn "fills" which can grow into drum solos. For some of our private lesson students, their goal is to be able to write and perform their own songs as a singer/songwriter. 

With all instruments, and at all levels, our students are taught how to improvise. For most types of music, including rock, pop, and jazz, improvisation is an integral part of playing a song. In music, improvisation is creating music spontaneously, in the moment.

How many of Billboard's Top 100
Song Writers Can You Name?

What, you might wonder, is the difference between writing a song and improvising? Legendary jazz pianist McCoy Tyner explained it well in an interview with Michael Gallant for Keyboard Magazine. 
When asked how he practices improvising, his response was:

“I don’t actually practice that much. I compose.” He went on to say that, in many ways, improvising and writing music are two sides of the same coin – only one happens more slowly while the other happens very quickly, in the moment.

Some people think that improvisation should be part of the training for all young musicians because it helps the brain unleash it's creativity. Noa Kageyama stated this in an article in Bulletproof Musician, "Indeed, there are some recent studies which take this a step further and suggest that musicians who are trained in improvisation might be more capable of unleashing their creativity in general, as compared to musicians who have less experience with improvisation or non-musicians (at least on measures of divergent thinking)."

"Musicians who are trained in improvisation might be more capable of unleashing their creativity in general, as compared to musicians who have less experience with improvisation."  

Now that you know more about songwriting and improvisation, remember to encourage your child when they are just noodling around on their instrument. They might be practicing improvisation. And when you see their band or class play their original song, just picture their brains exploding with creativity. 

Want to learn more about how learning to improvise affects the brain? Here's an interesting TED Talk to check out. 

Written by Terri Paglusch
Terri Paglusch
Terri comes to Music House with extensive experience in business management. At Music House she spends her time working to make the client experience the best it can be.