Author and writing instructor Judy Reaves has written some very interesting things about writing practice. And I have to say, the same strategy can be used effectively for getting in touch with first thoughts at the piano.
Here are some things Judy has to say about timed writing exercises:
1. It becomes easier to actually do the writing ("anybody can write for ten or fifteen minutes").
2. A tension is created that enables you to focus.
3. The writer is allowed to forget himself and be present with the writing.
4. It evokes spontaneity; there's not time to think or ponder.
5. It keeps the writing moving forward to the next word instead of rewriting, reconsidering, rethinking.
6. With an end in sight, it's easier to begin.
7. There's freedom in knowing you don't have to finish, you just stop when the time is up. Consequently, you can take more risks.
8. Writing time can easily be fit into a too full schedule.
9. Writing that doesn't work or isn't interesting can be abandoned when the time's up.
10. On the other hand, that same writing can turn interesting if pursued for the full amount of time allotted.
After reading the above, I quickly realized the same thing could be successfully applied to improvising at the piano. In fact, I just created a new lesson where you learn how to do exactly that ... be at the piano for a specified time period while you freely improvise! Current Quiescence Music members may now access this lesson. Not a member yet? Sign up now for just $4.97 and get instant access to this new lesson and over 100 more! More info here.