Practice bigger, smaller and others dare
Music is broken into large and small keys, and from these keys other waves are formed. The key signatures dictate which notes can be safely played, which means that the notes will not collide with the rest of the music being played. Understanding your large and small scales is the first step to effective improvisation. It is a good idea to keep a key card handy for playing regularly. You can buy key tables in a music store or find them online for just about any instrument, for free (see Resources).
Practice Playing Arpeggios
A very effective improvisation technique is to limit yourself to playing arpeggios (the notes on a chord are played separately). You should have a thorough understanding of how chords are built to do this. Try to limit yourself to using only notes of any chords being played and change the notes you use when changing the chords. Playing chord notes ensures that the notes you play go with the rest of the song and by limiting yourself, you can force creative thinking.
Play with a dashboard
No matter what instrument you play, one of the most effective improvisation practice techniques is to play along with an instrumental track in different keys. You can buy instrumental tracks in a music store, or better yet, make your own by playing a repeated cho rd progression in different keys and recording them. Play the recordings back and improvise over them. Record the playback with you and improvise over the chord progression and listen carefully to what you played. You will be amazed at how much it sounds good. The more you do it, the better trained your ear will be.
There is no better way to practice improvisation than to do it in a living environment. Try to put together a band and have regular sessions where the band plays a repetitive rhythmic track and the members take turns improvising. Or seek out open jam sessions in bars with members who regularly play and allow others to join. Music improvisation is the task of making up your musical part as you go. The ability to improvise comes from being able to hear musical keys and know which notes fit inside those keys. This combination of talent comes from both studying and simply playing your instrument. Here are some strategies that can help you understand what it takes to be able to pick up your instrument and improvise a solo.