I got a note this week from blog reader, worship leader and friend Kyle F.:
I am a pretty solid "rhythm" key player, but have never been good at improv and solos. Could you write a post with some tips on improvisation and soloing? Maybe some exercises you do or something like that? Anything would be helpful!
Soloing is such a complicated subject that I’m going to focus on just soloing in worship. For more insights, I’d recommend checking out this blog I wrote LINK, and reading Jazz Music Theory. Here are my top 5 tips for soloing in worship:
1. Learn your scales.
I can’t stress it enough- if you don’t know your scales inside and out, you won’t be able to solo. Practice all your major scales every day, and memorize which scales have which sharps and flats.
2. Use 5ths and 2nds, and avoid triads.
In the worship music genre (and yes, it’s a genre with patterns just like any other style) there’s a strong emphasis on simple, heart-felt solos that use open 5ths and 2nds. Here’s an example solo of what I mean:
Avoid at all costs doing something like this:
Using thirds like I did above creates an overly “happy” sound that just doesn’t fit.
3. Make it singable.
If you can’t sing it, it’s probably not going to be particularly memorable or musical.
4. Keep it simple.
A few simple notes played with a lot of phrasing and musicality is always better than a busy run with no feeling.
5. Model your solos after other solos.
The easiest way to learn how to solo is to listen to solos you love, and then copy them. By reinterpreting what you hear, you’ll begin to develop your own signature solo sound.