LMTA Conference Session (2022)

“Buttered Bread”

Bread = Repertoire

Butter = Improvisation

Improvisation at the Piano Lesson

Ok…so you and your students can improvise on black keys along with a Gb Major or Eb Minor accompaniment.

Now what???

Improvisation Project Samples from the Music Moves for Piano (Marilyn Lowe) Curriculum

From Music Moves for Piano Student Book 1: Unit 2, page 6

From Music Moves for Piano Student Book 2: Unit 7, page 20

From Music Moves for Piano Student Book 4: Unit 1, page 1

Improvisation as Readiness for Reading Music Notation

From Dr. Edwin E. Gordon’s Taking a Reasonable and Honest Look at Tonal Solfege and Rhythm Solfege (pg. 78)

Ability to call upon patterns in audiation for purposes of improvisation is sequentially and logically transferred to interpreting music notation. When familiarity of sounds has been learned freely in an enjoyable manner, as in improvisation, it is a relatively simple and natural matter to hinge those sounds to notated symbols. Sound before sign is the rule, and there are few, if any, better ways to gain ownership of sounds for learning to read than to improvise and converse. Thus, improvisation is discussed before reading to encourage teachers to consider how success may be rapidly experienced and anguish adroitly averted when students are given ample readiness through improvisation to read music notation.

Edwin E. Gordon

Improvisation at the Piano Recital

A Final Thought:

In the music/language parallel, improvisation is to music what conversing is to language.

Someone who can only participate with music if there is printed notation to rely on, is like a person who cannot hold a conversation unless someone has scripted what they will say.

Resources to Explore Further

Improvisation Lesson Activity Demo

In this short YouTube video, I walk a student through an activity that combines tonal patterns (using the D Minor Tonic & Dominant Melodic Cadence) and triple meter division rhythm patterns (Gordon/Froseth Beat Function Rhythm Syllable System) to improvise her own musical ideas.

Pattern Power: Learning Piano Repertoire through Rhythm and Tonal Pattern Play

In this free mini-webinar, I demonstrate ways to build rhythm and tonal pattern vocabulary (the words of music), through repertoire study, using Beethoven’s Russian Folk Song, Op. 107, No. 3 as an example.

Step by Step Improvising: An Overview of Music Moves for Piano Exploration/Creativity/Improvisation

In this webinar, I explore the purpose and progression of the Exploration/Creativity/Improvisation projects in the Music Moves for Piano Student Books one through five.

Keys to Music Learning Podcast

Unlock your students’ musical potential.

The podcast that discusses common goals and challenges in the piano studio, and offers research-based ideas and solutions to guide every one of your students to reach their full musical potential with audiation.

What’s in a Music Moves for Piano Lesson?

Keyboard maps to remember improvisations, compositions, and arrangements.

Questions about this session or about audiation-based piano lessons?

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