It really doesn't take much to improvise. A few chords, a scale to play in and that's that. But once these technical decisions are out of the way, we must allow our feeling to guide us.
Playing this way has many advantages. First, you don't have to worry about what you're going to play. You let your intuition guide you in this. The hands are placed on certain chords. The fingers move and the mind is in abeyance, waiting in surprise to see what the hands will discover.
You also don't have to think about what chords to use or how you're going to play them. When you take care of the technical aspects first, you free yourself to explore your materials. Of course, things can change and we must allow for this, but playing within a set of limitations will free the mind.
For example, in the improvisation exercise Monterey Beach, 2 chords are used. How they are played is determined and a Key is chosen. Now the improviser can relax and explore the possibilities available.
The other way of playing, the way where there are too many choices present, distracts the improviser from improvising. The mind must be free from these distractions so feeling can be expressed easily. Many students have a problem with doing things easily.
Edward Weiss is a pianist/composer and webmaster of Quiescence Music's online piano lessons. He has been helping students learn how to play piano in the New Age style for over 14 years and works with students in private, in groups, and now over the internet. Visit http://www.quiescencemusic.com/ now and get a FREE piano lesson!