Weighing the Pros and Cons of Improvising

I think we can all agree that improvisation has it pros and cons. Naturally we can also all agree that there are some misconceptions regarding improvisation and how to go about using it for creative expression. In this brief article I will outline the pros and cons of improvisation as well as the misconceptions . My goal is that you walk away with a better understanding of how improvisation is used in music and how you can start using it today.

PRO: You will learn more about your instrument as a result of improvisational application.

CON: You may have to unlearn rigid techniques that are set in particular pattern forms.

MISCONCEPTION: Improvisation is associated with bad or unsophisticated technique.


PRO: You will learn more about music composition.

CON: Improvisation is free-flowing and not confined by traditional compositional rules.

MISCONCEPTION: There is a misconception that you need to know a lot of musical theory in order to improvise. This is a major misconception.

PRO: Improvisation gives you more chances to play with a group of people.

CON: Improvisation can sometimes distract those that aren’t used to hearing it or, that have never attempted to improvise.

MISCONCEPTION: Improvisation is intellection and understood by musicians only.

PRO: You will be more enabled to be  uniquely creative.

CON: Improvisors can sometimes detour far enough from a melody in which it is no longer recognizable.

MISCONCEPTION: Improvisation is playing random notes.


PRO: Improvisation gives you strength to take risks and experiment.

CON: Improvisors can sometimes get stuck in notational ruts or, musical “isms.”

MISCONCEPTION: Improvisation is hard and only for professionals.

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