This is a companion podcast to my main podcast, Play It Again Swig, where I record my experience learning all the Chopin etudes. In Chopin’s time, it was unthinkable to be a performing pianist without also improvising. These days improvisation generally isn’t a part of the classical musician’s training or skill set. I’d like to be part of changing that.

I never really practiced improvising before 2013, but now I’m improvising for a few minutes of every practice session. I record every improvisation, and upload the ones I can stand. I’m not uploading every single one, because part of the intent is to tame the inner censor, and I need the filter of knowing my improvising isn’t necessarily going out into the world…but I promise I’ll post at least once in a while.

I’m asking for prompts, and randomly drawing one card and playing with that as the catalyst. If you’d like to contribute one, please get in touch with me.

I’ve started to improvise live onstage—not just the occasional ornament or cadenza, but transitions and whole pieces. I don’t know what these will sound like or where this will lead me, but for lots of different reasons it’s time for me to make improvising part of my process. I hope some of these explorations will be enjoyable to listen to, and that I’ll improve as I keep doing them.

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