By saying less is more, I don’t mean you to play less. Even this is also an option!

What I mean by saying „less“, is that you don’t have to know a lot about music theory to improvise! You don’t have to be a virtuoso on your instrument to play good music, do you?

What want you to think about and learn in this post is to improvise on Popsongs, Jazzstandards and, because it’s the right time of the year….on christmas carols.

You don’t have to play an improvsation right away. Start by playing different variations of the melody of a song. Play with the melody, add something to it or leave some notes out.

You don’t have to know anything about music-theory to play these kind of variations on a tune. „Less“ means we don’t think about chords, chord changes, scales etc.

Let’s start with a tune everybody knows: Silent Night

…this is how we know it:

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…that’s the way it may be played using variations:Stille Nacht Variation-1

As you can see I used rhythmic shifts and variations, like in bar 3,7 and 21. Plus I worked with chromatic aproaches. A chromatic aproach means, aproaching the note composed by a note a minor second below / above. See bar 20 to get a better picture of what Iexplained right now.

The d# is creating some tension, being released to the composed note e.

You can also aproach the composed tones by using tones from the scale or chord….that’s where music-theory starts! Anyway….check out bar 5 where I used a note taken from the chord to aproach the composed tone.

No matter what kinf of variation you choose to use, the most important thing is that you hear where the melody takes you. You have to hear where the chord changes want to take you and the composition!

That was it for 2017. I hope you enjoyed reading my posts so far.

I wish you merry christmas and a happy new year 2018!



If you’re interested in going deeper into chromatic aproaches, rhythmic and harmonic shifts, I recommend you practising with my eBook or videotutorial 7Steps.