Guitar Talk #11: Improvisation is a Lot Like Surfing
To me, improvisation is a lot like surfing, not that I CAN surf, but at least I could safely assume that it would require major concentration. That wouldn’t mean tensing your body up, though.
You should be alert and ready, yet flexible to go with the flow and have fun. If you plan ahead too much you’d sound stiff and same all the time.
On the other hand, if you’re too loose, you’d miss the musical clues and the waves would wipe you out.
Not to say that it would never happen, but coming up with unique and magical notes every time you play is not an everyday occurrence, not even when you have hours and hours to sit down and dissect a tune, let alone while being in the moment and improvising. It’s about gathering a strong arsenal of ideas first by practicing a lot, then setting the one that you think is the most appropriate at a certain musical moment and leaving the door open for surprises at the same time.