How to ‘kickstart’ your piano composition skills (even if you’ve no experience)

Ever wondered how pianists actually write their music? How they can just sit at a piano and go where the music takes them?

Without thought. Completely in flow.

It all seems mysterious.

Composers like Elton John or Ludavico Einaudi compose some of the most beautiful music.

Not only that but they continuously write and produce great works of art.

They are no different to you or me so how do they do it?

You weren’t born to write music? Think again…

hands on piano keysCreating your own music is only for those who have the talent right? Or those that have some sort of mystical ‘connection’ with music.

This is dangerous as it can lead to self limiting thoughts like “I could never do what they do”

Let me share a short story with you.

I was at a family wedding a few years back and inside the main reception area was a huge black grand piano. You know the sort of piano I am talking about. The one you see in the big concert halls.

Well, my family having the natural desire to embarrass me at every possible moment decided to point at the piano, then point at me. In no uncertain terms I was ordered to sit and play that piano.

I didn’t have anything specific prepared. I mean, to be honest, I was a little out of practice and felt a bit pressured. So resigned to the fact, I just started playing…

I picked a key and played one note after another until I felt more at ease. The funny thing was that the more I played and built up momentum, the more at ease I felt. I became present to the moment. Melodies and chord progressions started pouring out of me which if I say so myself were rather good. They took even me by suprise.

I became lost in the music. I can’t be sure how long it was but I do remember that when I came to a finish there was not a single person talking. EVERYBODY’S attention was on me. Slowly the applause came. A little embarrassed I closed the piano lid and that was that.

For the rest of the day, random people I didn’t know came up to me and said how much they enjoyed my playing. They congratulated me and it felt good.

What was interesting was that they would say things like “Where did that come from?” or “I could never do something like that”

This was when I realized the true power of playing my own music. It was a release but also felt authentic. People resonated with it.

What was a simple process for me as a performer was mystical and mysterious to the listener. I had managed to capture the attention of a large group of people and taken them on a musical journey.

I knew I could keep playing for hours if I wanted. Lost in my own musical world.

Now, if I can do it… and so many others can do it… so can you!

So where to start?

Developing familiarity and confidence (the backbone of creativity)

You see… so many people view piano composing and creativity as a skill that others ‘just have’. This isn’t true. The fact is, creativity is a skill, which you can learn just like any other ‘regular’ skill.

It comes naturally when we become familiar with our chosen art. Familiarity develops into confidence. It is much easier to be creative when you are confident in your ability. Whether it is pottery making or creating your own music on the piano.

Expecting to be creative when just starting the piano is like attempting to cook a michelin star meal. Except you have only just learned to hold the knife.

The enemy of creativity is thinking too much about the process. This develops barriers to your creative flow. Your mission is to start reducing the barriers in your mind between the music in your head and the piano.

To do this we can break everything down into smaller parts and build from there.

Introducing the ‘Room’ technique

Imagine we create a room and occupy it with various things. We walk in and lock the door. Nothing else can get in. What’s in is in. We can move these things around, put them in different orders and play around with them.

But we do not allow anything else to occupy the room. We don’t have to think about anything that is outside our ‘room’. Over time, we get intimately familiar with its contents. This gives us confidence which paves the way for creativity inside the room.

We can then start to create many different rooms. Link the rooms together and make the rooms bigger. The house becomes a mansion and so on.

How to use the ‘Room’ Technique to kickstart your piano composition

So on the piano, we can repeat a simple pattern in the right hand and use four different bass notes.

In this example, in our ‘room’ we have a specific repeated pattern in the right hand and four notes in the left. Thats it. So how does it sound? What if we change the order of the bass notes?

Or, we can take four simple chords and a specific rhythm to move between them.

So, in our ‘room’ we have our rhythm and four chords. We would learn those four chords until we can move between them without thinking. Then play around with the order until we hit something we like.

In the meantime, remember the ‘room’ technique and follow these steps when you sit and play the piano.

  1. Choose what to put in your own ‘room’
  2. Stick to whats inside the room until you become familiar with the contents
  3. Develop confidence inside your room.
  4. Play around with the contents of the room.

Use the ‘room’ technique to kickstart your piano composing and get creative.

I will be creating step by step video lessons to guide you through this process. My lessons will teach you how to play the piano the way you want. You are in control.

Welcome to Creative Piano Academy.

Be Inspired. Be Creative

p.s. What style of piano music would you like to be able to compose? Let me know in the comments below.

1 Comment

  1. Sam on July 27, 2018 at 6:10 am

    I like traditional gospel soulful, jazz, and blues

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