What is this “just improv”?
In Chopin’s time, it was unthinkable to be a performing pianist without also improvising. These days improvisation generally hasn’t been a part of the classical musician’s training or skill set. I’d like to be part of changing that.
I’ve never really practiced improvising before, but I’ve started improvising for a few minutes of every practice session. I record every improvisation, and then listen to them at the end of the week. Every week I upload what I like best: no talk, no fuss, just some piano music that I made up. I’m not uploading every single improvisation, because part of the intent is to tame the inner censor, and I need the filter of knowing my improvising isn’t necessarily going out into the world…but I promise I’ll post at least once in a while.
This year I’ll improvise live onstage—not just the occasional ornament or cadenza, but transitions and whole pieces. I don’t know what these will sound like or where this will lead me, but for lots of different reasons it’s time for me to make improvising part of my process. I hope some of these explorations will be enjoyable to listen to, and that I’ll improve over the course of the year.