It’s easy to assume that great improvisers possess some kind of unattainable skill. However, Jesús Molina, one of the top piano players in the world today, shows in his new course that it’s much easier to get started with improvisation than you may think.
“Learn Improvisation and Musical Freedom” is a new course by Jesús Molina that aims to help piano players improvise and unleash their creativity. It’s available through Pianote, which is a popular online teaching platform that offers a comprehensive curriculum for students to learn piano.
Throughout the course, Jesús demonstrates the building blocks for how to improvise across a variety of genres. There is a deeper message throughout the course though, which is how to adopt a mindset and practice routine that will enable you to find your own style and develop as a musician.
Piano players often aspire to be able to improvise, but many set self-imposed barriers on themselves by underestimating their potential. Jesús’ message is all about combining your talents with disciplined, effective, and consistent practice.
He starts by playing “Happy Birthday to You” in a variety of styles and then shows how to start with basic improvisation using a simple scale. Throughout the course, he then enthusiastically goes far deeper into how to improvise across a variety of genres. He also delves into his own practice routine and takes you through his suggested six-month practice plan.
Jesús see’s improvisation as an essential form of communication for musicians. After watching the course, I feel pretty compelled to focus more on playing and exploring music in addition to just studying it.
Jesús is an incredibly likable and passionate guy. The lessons are insightful while also being highly motivating. One of the Pianote members referred to him as the “Colombian Tony Robbins”!
In order to understand what the course is about, it’s helpful to know a bit more about Jesús.
Who is Jesús Molina?
Jesús Molina is Colombian pianist that exudes a great passion for piano and music. He has a religious background and played his first song on piano at the age of 4. Despite still being quite young, he is already a highly established and respected pianist.
To say that Jesús is passionate about music is a massive understatement. The way he speaks about piano and music is inspiring and motivating.
Jesús Molina has collaborated with many artists over the years such as Jordan Rudess, Noel Schajris, Gabriela Soto, Zedd, Rudy Perez, and many more. If you want a taste of his improv skills and melodic sense, you can see this live session.
What’s Included in the Course?
In the words of Jesús Molina, improvisation is bringing out your musicality and the biggest mistake you can make is thinking you don’t have it. What this course aims to do is bring out your creativity and personal musicality to the light.
No matter what style you play or have an affinity for, improvisation can be taught through various practice methods and tips. Spicing up your playing is just another way to improve while at the same time making your sessions more fun and productive as well.
Introduction And Lessons
This course features a total of 9 lessons under 2 hours in videos. Starting from the instructor’s introduction and diving straight into the topic “What is improvisation?”. Jesús explains the concept in his own words to simplify what improvisation means and what it requires.
The course is then centered around 5 different improvisation styles that you can try for a song as simple as “Happy Birthday to You”. You get to see Classical, Jazz, Latin, Stride, and Power Ballad improvisations of the songs and how Jesús explains that any of these styles can be incorporated into any other given song.
Can you imagine Happy Birthday in a classical style? I certainly couldn’t, until I heard Jesús play. Taking the harmonies to another level with a certain depth and adding in the melody as if it was originally written for that song in that context is certainly surprising to hear at first, but he makes it work so beautifully.
All the other styles trigger the same response, even hearing Jazz and Latin, it’s as if the original arrangement was made that way. What Jesús does within these lessons is also incorporate not just different styles but also his personal improv techniques and ideas. Trying out various runs and slides, he just keeps piling on to the song without it being too much.
Words to live by here are – “If it sounds horrible or not right at first, it means you are doing the right thing”. He stresses the fact to ‘not be afraid’ when you improvise and just keep expanding your knowledge on the piano.
The Final Step – Practice Plan
Jesús showcases how to practice like he does and includes a structured practice plan. The practice plan is on a month-by-month basis. The 6-month plan divides sessions by each month and focuses on a different topic each time. Learning new things and trying them out is where improvisation lies.
The idea behind the practice plan is to divide the learning process into easily digestible parts. Starting with harmony, a whole month is devoted to just learning and practicing your harmonies, expanding the harmonic vocabulary with different colors, tensions, etc.
Each subsequent month is dedicated to something different and explores them in depth. Throughout the practice plan, you learn how to combine the elements together, analyze songs, and compose your own pieces.
His six month plan is made to be repeatable so you never plateau or run out of areas to practice on.
Who is this course aimed at?
‘Learn Improvisation And Musical Freedom’ is aimed at intermediate and advanced piano players because it encompasses a lot of different styles and relies on musicality, as well as how well you know the piano.
Less experienced players may not be able to keep up with everything on the piano, but they will still get a lot of valuable insights into Jesús’ mindset and practice routine.
It’s a very rewatchable course. As you get better, you can come back and pick up something new from a different perspective.
Who will benefit from this course the most?
This course would be very beneficial for intermediate players that want to develop their skills, while it would also greatly benefit advanced players that are used to staying in their comfort zone.
There are a lot of musicians and pianists out there who just go by the book and are afraid to experiment further. This course helps those who want to break that habit and loosen up while unleashing their musicality upon the instrument.
Everything is broken down into little pieces and Jesús explains his mindset and practice tips to further improve these skills.
There are also a lot of downloadable resources, and everything he plays and demonstrates is available as downloadable sheet music.
Jesús Molina’s Teaching Style
Jesús Molina teaches in such a relaxed and positive style that you’ll feel that he’s having a conversation directly with you! He offers plenty of demonstrations, actionable advice and tips throughout the course. The exercises are actionable and guide you in the right direction without being too prescriptive, since that would defeat the whole point of the course!
Get full access to Jesús Molina’s course on Pianote with a free 30-day trial using this link!
Overall, “Learn Improvisation And Musical Freedom” by Jesús Molina is an excellent course that offers a lot of value for anyone looking to improve their improvisation skills on the piano. Jesús Molina is one of the most respected modern piano players in the world today, and it’s fantastic to learn from him, while also getting a glimpse into his mindset and practice routine. If you need some inspiration or just want to learn more about improvisation and creativity on piano, then this course is well worth considering.
Get full access to the course on Pianote with a free 30-day trial using this link!