16 pro tips for improvising with other musicians by Chick Corea

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Yes, we know this isn’t Chick Corea.

Any musician will agree that there’s nothing much more annoying than someone who keeps playing a solo for hours after they should have gracefully given way to the other members in the band.

Whether you play rock, rap, reggae or rara tech, if you play music with other people it’s well worth your while checking out the following 16 tips from legendary keyboard player Chick Corea entitled Cheap but Good Advice for Playing Music in a Group:

  1. Play only what you hear.
  2. If you don’t hear something, don’t play anything.
  3. Don’t let your fingers and limbs just wander – place them intentionally.
  4. Don’t improvise on endlessly – play something with intention, develop it or not, but then end off-take a break.
  5. Leave space – create space – intentionally create places where you don’t play
  6. Make your sound blend. Listen to your sound and adjust it to the rest of the band and the room.
  7. If you play more than one instrument at a time – like a drum kit or multiple keyboards – make sure they balance with one another.
  8. Don’t make any of your music mechanically or just through patterns of habit. Create each sound, phrase, and piece with choice; deliberately.
  9. Guide your choice of what to play by what you like, not by what someone else will think.
  10. Use contrast and balance the elements: high/low, fast/slow, loud/soft, tense/relaxed, dense/sparse
  11. Play to make the other musicians sound good. Play things that will make the overall music sound good.
  12. Play with a relaxed body. Always release whatever tension you create.
  13. Create space – begin, develop and end phrases with intention.
  14. Never beat or pound your instrument – play it easily and gracefully.
  15. Create space – then place something in it.
  16. When improvising use mimicry sparsely – mostly create phrases that contrast with and develop the phrases of the other players.
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One Response to “16 pro tips for improvising with other musicians by Chick Corea”

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  1. Chick Corea knows what it's about 🙂

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