Why The A Minor Scale?
This is actually one of the scales I use most. It's extremely versatile and can be used with many styles of music.
It's also a movable scale. That which means you can move it around and play many different scales. For example if you move it down two frets it becomes the G minor scale. Up two frets and it's a B minor scale.
How To Practice The A Minor Scale And Start Improvising
- Practice the basic fingering for the scale slowly at first. You might want to experiment with playing part of the scale at first, and then adding more little by little until you can play the whole thing.
- If you feel frustrated take a few deep breaths, and even a short break if you need to.
- When you can play the scale all the way up it's time to practice going down. (Just a reminder: going down means down musically… From higher to lower notes.)
- Now you're ready to practice the scale with a beat. Start by keeping the beat with your foot or just nodding your head. Try to keep it steady. When you can do that pretty good try using a metronome starting at a very slow tempo.
- The next step is to play along with the backing track (see below). I find it’s a lot of fun as do many of my students. First play slowly with the backing track. You might find you just need to play part of the scale and work your way up to the whole thing. Be persistent… And keep coming back at it.
- Now you can start improvising. Experiment. Make up your own riffs. Copy something else that you heard. Try doing it a little bit each day… no pressure… keep it fun.
- Once you've been playing by yourself a little bit I recommend that you record yourself on your phone and just listen back.
- Try not to get caught up criticizing yourself. We all do it… but it’s not very useful and it's a habit you can break if you just pay attention. The point is to just calmly decide what you like and what you don't like as you listen (the best you can). Then try playing it again with that in mind.
This is a simplified version of what I've been doing for years to learn to improvise and to create my own songs. In fact it's what I still do to this day.
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About The Backing Track
I had fun making this backing track. I wanted to create something that was a little more interesting the just a two chord progression with Am and E7… Whether the same time not making it too complicated. To add a little spice to it I gave it a classic rumba feel.
Are you curious what the chord progression is?
Here it is:
||:Am///| Dm7///| E7///|////|Am///| Dm7///| E7///|////|
Would you like to learn this chord progression and perhaps that soft rumba strum? Let me know in the comment field and if I get enough request I'll make a lesson.
BTW If you listen carefully you'll notice I'm creating a rumba baseline with my thumb while I'm playing the chords.
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