A number of people have asked about my own methodology for creating a complete piece of music at the piano. At the risk of oversimplification, the steps are as follows:
1. I sit down at the piano without any thought of creating something and tune in to my feelings.
2. I start to play the first thing that comes to mind. In other words, my fingers come before my brain. I let it all hang out and see where the music wants to go. If something resonates or has energy I stay with it until the energy dissipates. If the music does not seem to want to go anywhere I get up and leave.
3. Now, (assuming that I am on to something) I draw bar lines - enough for an 8-measure phrase. I then write down the chord changes on top - hopefully for the entire 8 bars. If the entire 8-bars don't come, I try for four - but I usually succeed in filling up this 8-bar space. I'll then pencil in the melody, but only the first 2-bars.
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