Learn to improvise. 2003-2004. Lesson 00: why improvise?

'Improvise' means something like unprepared, but improvising needs actually much more preparation than reading from sheet music.
A common question is: Why would one improvise a poor piece of music while one can play Bach?
Indeed, the rules for music reading are only a small part of the total music theory, and for improvisation even the theory for composing has to be extended with much extra knowledge.
So what are the reasons to improvise? Some of them are: Once you have achieved a certain level, improvising becomes addictive. I have met people who had music lessons during ten years and played well, but hadn't done it after that for many years, until they started to improvise. Now they play daily and sometimes in public, which they wouldn't have dared in their sheet music period. Their score reading has improved, too, because they are more self confident. They now know more about the structure of music and have the routine to replace on the spot a difficult note by another one, which comes closest to the same musical effect.

My definition of improvising covers everything between cheating with score reading to completely inventing a piece of music. I will pay most attention however to the usual procedure of making different melodies at a given set of chords.

Most music lessons prepare for performance, but so little time spent on playing, will in reality be used for that. So my goal is to learn how to enjoy your own music. It is remarkable that as a side effect this improves the capability to perform as well.

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