5 Amazing Benefits to Playing Random Notes (Every Improvising Guitarist Should Do This)Nov 01, 2022
Playing random notes is one of the most powerful things to work on as an improviser. Here are 5 amazing benefits of playing random notes.
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Hi, I'm Jared from soundguitarlessons.com! This is part of my quick tips lesson series. If you want to check out the whole series, click here.
If you want to be an improvising guitarist, one of the most important things you can do is practice playing constant, random notes. I know that sounds odd, but in this article, I'll share five reasons why it's one of the most effective ways to become a fluent improviser.
Benefit #1: Improved Phrasing
Practicing scale notes and improvising with chord tones are important exercises, but I always prioritize working on constant random notes first.
When we train ourselves to be "ready to play something all the time," it benefits us in different ways. For example, if we can play a constant series of notes, we'll be able to control our pausing and phrasing to more accurately execute the ideas we want to express.
Want to learn more about phrasing? Here's a link to an in-depth phrasing lesson—very, very powerful stuff to work on.
Playing constantly, and never stopping, is the opposite of phrasing—We need to be able to play constantly to control our pausing and phrasing. The beauty of constantly playing is that when pausing, it will be on purpose, NOT because we ran out of notes. There's a flow and togetherness that can only come from continuous playing.
Benefit #2: Increased Confidence and Fearlessness
The second benefit is that we become less worried about playing the "right" notes. We should condition ourselves to feel like there are no "wrong" notes. Even if something sounds bad, there's a way you can react to it musically.
When we're improvising and making things up as we go, it's important to be brave and let the weirdness happen. That's usually when the best moments occur. I'm not saying that everything will always sound great—there will be some notes that aren't pleasant—but the goal is to turn those into something special.
We need to be fearless when playing something weird so we can get better and learn to enjoy it. It won't be bad once you get used to it, and making this change will have a big impact on how you play music in general.
If you condition yourself to be okay with any potential outcome, it opens up a world of opportunities for creativity and improvisation. This way, you can play around with bad notes, weird notes, wrong notes - whatever you want - and then come back to the scale. Not only is this freeing, but also beneficial in terms of tension and release in the music.
Benefit #3: Better Guitar Technique Conditioning
The third benefit is that it provides physical variety. When we practice something and repeat it, we get into a groove of doing the same thing over and over again. But with random notes, we are constantly switching it up, which is amazing for our physical conditioning.
There won't be a physical thing that feels "untouchable" from always using our fingers in the same order when playing songs. Playing random notes creates variety for us and keeps things interesting.
Benefit #4: Breaks Old Habits and Unwanted Licks
The fourth thing is that it helps you break out of playing particular patterns, or ruts. When you play random notes without any melody in mind, it allows you to try new things and explore different areas of your instrument that you may not have ventured into before. This will help 'break' any habits that you've fallen into while improvising or jamming.
After playing the same thing over and over, you might start to feel like you're just going through the motions. If that's the case, switch it up by trying something new with your hands or fingers - even if it's just one note at a time. You could also try repeating what you know in a different place on the fretboard, or explore higher notes. Always mixing things up will help keep your jams feeling fresh.
Benefit #4: Thinking Outside of the Box and Increased Creative Exploration
In the fifth and final benefit, we learn to think outside the box and become more creative. This comes in handy when playing all over the fretboard.
You can also work on other things while you're doing this if you want. You can focus on doing it in a relaxed manner, but if something starts to become repetitive and boring, we all know what that's like. This exercise forces me to get creative about how I can switch it up and make it more interesting.
Creativity often comes from thinking outside of the box. This exercise is designed to encourage you to be creative and try something new. So, don't be afraid to experiment with different ways of doing things. You may surprise yourself!
Playing "Outside" the Harmony
One of the best things about this is that it can help us to play outside of our comfort zone. If we want to focus on chord changes or scale patterns, we can use this momentary tension or experimental sound as a way to loosen up and then come back in and nail the changes.
So, when you're practicing, if you make a mistake, don't worry! You can always play around and find your way back to the right note or chord.
I do this in my chord tone arpeggio lesson series. I go through 12 different chords and show you how to play over them using only the chord tones so that you're nailing the sound. But then I also show how to branch out from those notes and add some spice to your playing with chromatic options.
You can download a free PDF of all the chord tone arpeggio shapes for 12 different chord types by going to soundguitarlessons.com/chordtones.
And that's a wrap for this quick tips lesson series! I designed these shorter lessons as an opportunity to practice making smaller lessons, and while I think I was successful sometimes and not so much at others, it was fun overall. I'm going back to my usual longer format with graphics from now on – thanks for watching! As always, happy practicing.
Improvising with Random Notes Video Outline
0:00 - Intro
0:57 - Benefit #1: Stopping for the sake of the music
2:10 - Benefit #2: Stop worrying about playing "wrong notes"
3:29 - Benefit #3: Practice playing with variety
4:15 - Benefit #4: Break your habit of playing the same licks
5:01 - Benefit #5: Think outside the box and get creative
6:03 - How random notes help us play "outside" the harmony
6:34 - Chord tone arpeggio improvisation series
6:48 - Chord tone shapes pack (free download)
7:00 - Outro & next lessons
Links & Lessons Mentioned in this Improvising with Random Notes Video
- Quick Tips Lesson Series Playlist
- In Depth Phrasing Lesson
- Improvise with Chord Tone Arpeggio Shapes Lesson Playlist (12 Chord Types)
- FREE Arpeggio Shapes Pack for Targeting Chord Tones when Soloing
Improvising with Random Notes Video Description
If you're an improvising guitarist, or if you want to be a great improvisor, then two of the most impactful things to practice are:
Improvising with random notes
Improvising constant notes
Hang with me on this.
It's hard to be sold on this concept until you give it a solid try and start seeing the incredible benefits (which of course takes a while).
In this final video of my "quick tips" lesson series, I outline five concrete reasons why improvising with constant random notes is a game-changing exercises for improvisors.
I hope these five reasons help you push through that initial phase of practicing something new, that phase when we're not sure of how it's going to pay off (been there!).
Thanks for watching!
I hope you have a great rest of your week and that you get some fun guitar time in :)
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