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Music & Entertainment

Improvisation

Tom Morello

Lesson time 8:35 min

Learn how to get lost in the music, experiment, and push yourself outside of your comfort zone with Tom’s techniques for becoming a more nimble improviser.

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Tom Morello
Teaches Electric Guitar
In 26 lessons, Grammy-winning musician Tom Morello will teach you the guitar techniques, rhythms, and riffs that define his signature style.
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Improvisation should be fearless. There are never any points off for making any mistake. So whether you're jamming along with a song, you know, at your computer, on a record player, or playing with other musicians, I would just say that is-- should be-- it's, you know-- it's like free time at recess-- improvisation. You know, there are other times where you're in the studio, and the clock is running, and a mic's on your amp, where you've got to get it right. Improvisation is not one of those times. It should really be a time that should just be fun to experiment with new things, to try things that are artistically unsafe and without a net, because there's nothing at stake other than you growing as an artist and as a guitar player. [MUSIC PLAYING] Improvisation can open up your mind to sonic ideas, riffs, and licks that you might not think up if you were just sitting down trying to do so. The idea is to get lost in the music when you improvise. And whatever your level of technique is, it's to use that level of technique, forget about the technique, and just let the music envelop you and flow freely in it. I think a lot of-- some of the most successful improv music is where you're heedless of mistakes, where you just get lost in the music, and you'll find there can be great results that stem from that. [MUSIC PLAYING] I tend to not listen back too carefully to my improv stuff, unless there's a moment or a spark, where I go, like, that was the one. I'll give you-- I'll give you a distinct example. On the "Atlas Underground" record, Gary Clark Jr. came over to my house, and we jammed. We did nothing but improv for hours with the tape-- with the tape player rolling. We rocked. We-- he sang. I sang. We threw lyrics back and forth. We stood there, heads on the guitar, playing blues licks and shredding licks at one another, and that was free form pure improvisation. Then Gary went away. I listened to the stuff, picked out juicy bits of our guitar playing, juicy bits of the lyrics in his incredible vocals, and we forged a song on the "Atlas Underground" record called, "Where It's At Ain't What It Is" that doesn't resemble the blues jam that we originally were on, but it provided the seeds for a really great powerful song that came out later. So that's certainly one of the benefits of jamming is to listen back to it, find the golden nuggets within an improvisation, and to make songs out of them or store them later for your own soloing self. [MUSIC PLAYING] Sometimes I improvise for fun. Sometimes it's to practice. Sometimes it's to write. But all of those can cross over very, very easily. I can pick up a guitar in my studio, just sort of killing time, or I'm on-- I'm on the phone, and all of a sudden, a hot lick or riff will come up, and I'll record it right away. Other times, I'll be practicing with friends in a jamming context, and it'll spark an idea, where I'll say, stop the presses, and this will be something that, you know...


Strike a Chord

Tom Morello is a two-time Grammy winner and one of Rolling Stone’s "greatest guitarists of all time." In his first online guitar class, the co-founder of Rage Against the Machine will teach you the riffs, rhythms, and solos that launched his career and sent his music to the top of the charts. Tom will share his approach to making music that challenges the status quo and teach you how to create your own musical style.



Reviews

4.7
Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

It was very refreshing and honest. Learned a lot of things. The course could be improved with a couple more advanced in depth lessons about composition and arrangement, because the songs are the most important thing.

More Guitar players and musicians of all kind. I´m a huge fan of Tom Morello and his projects. Ever since I´ve known TM I wanted to find something complex like this. Awesome job, get more musicians :)

As a guitar player it was almost everything I wanted to know about Tom's playing/set-up and I learned things I applied to my own playing.

Amazing to have my favorite guitarist teach me his methods and philosophy. Not a standard guitar class, and learned so much more.


Comments

dylan J.

Very frustrating that the workbook is only tabs why arnt they the same as on the screen which are super easy to read. no one likes tabs... plus no other mode patterns match Tom's. Sigh Tom is so nice and cool though not his fault.

Paul G.

Toms fingerings for the 7 positions seem a bit different than anywhere else I've seen. They aren't in the workbook as a chart, only as a tab. Does anyone have them written out?

Joe K.

improv is based upon drawing from things you already know and making everything happen from that...intuitively playing outside your comfort zone is still based in what you have learned...what to draw from...pushing ones self to explore is the best way to create newness in what one is playing ...I love the straight forward teaching Tom...I am absorbing so much positive musical energy here..I can't thank you enough...

Ruth W.

" always back to the one " " maintain the ear's interest while the chords don't change underneath "

Matthew

I have a feeling that if we find that space for a good solo with just the 1 going on harmonically, a 3-chord song is going to seem like a huge amount of 'room' in terms of melodic choices.