I’ve decided to start blogging a bit about music teaching, and also occasionally to share what I’m up to musically!
I thought I’d start by sharing a hand-out I share with a lot of my students: playing the blues.
The blues is a great place to start learning how to improvise and making up solos. On this hand-out, the first 12 bars are a typical blues guitar rhythm guitar part (you could also play the chords that are at the top.) The bottom of the page contains the notes to the “A Minor Pentatonic Scale,” which is pretty much what people often refer to as the Blues scale (the blues scale contains one other note.)
Once you’ve got the rhythm guitar part down, try putting on a “backing track” such as this one, and then playing the scale over top. Playing along to backing tracks is a lot of fun because it’s as though you’ve got a great band backing you up while you’re practicing! Playing the scale up and down you’ll notice that all the notes sound good, there aren’t any that sound “wrong.” The next thing to do is to mix up the order of the notes, to try and make up some melodies! Don’t be shy, just go for it! This is the beginnings of improvisation!