Watch this video for Tony's explanation for how to use the Wednesday Improv lesson! For the scale & backing track in this example, visit this lesson.
Your Wednesday Improv Success Formula
Step 1 - Watch the teaching video and invest time learning the scale before even listening to the backing track. The scale is usually presented in conjunction with a specific technique; if it helps, set the technique aside and focus on the scale only. Once you have the scale under your fingers start to integrate the technique to match the scale play through video.
Step 2 - Play the scale just as it is "over" the backing track. This step is crucial for two very important reasons: 1.) You will start to get comfortable hearing those singular scale notes over the backing track and be able to observe how they interact with the music (this begins some preliminary ear training). 2.) You will develop the essential skill of playing single notes while rhythm guitar is being played. This is one of those skills that lies at the core of improvisation and soloing. You will not be mirroring the rhythm that is being played so this may seem hard at first, however the more time you spend sinking into this step the easier it will get.
- Step 3 - Now that you have learned the scale and can play it over the rhythm track; I want you to now start finding things that sound good and take note of them. Keep in mind the only rule you have to follow here is: "If it sounds good, it is good." Let your ear be your guide here and start to create little melodies over the backing track that please your ear. This is a creative exercise so do your best to let your guard down and create with as much freedom as you wish.
Extra Items To Consider
- Rhythm - Adding rhythmic variation to scale notes can make a melody take a whole different form. So if you feel like you have hit a dead end try mixing up the rhythm a bit and see what new direction it takes your solo.
- Space - Just because all these notes exist and the backing track is going strong doesn't mean that you have to play the entire time. Adding space to your solo so it can breathe could make it much more interesting.
- Discover - If the scale that was taught is just not jiving with you please feel free to seek out something that jives with the solo you are trying to create. Feel free to knock down all the walls... this is your time to create.
- Fun - Experiment, bend rules, break rules, jump in with both feet... this is your safe space to experiment. Do your best to silence your inner critic and allow yourself to explore what you think works... the only way to really discover new guitar territory is to try your ideas out. Experiment away!
I hope this sheds some light on Wednesday's improvisation exercise and that you can now approach Wednesdays with the officially issued license to experiment, create, and have fun.