What is the course about?
Improvisation is a rewarding, creative activity (most children love it) and can be instructive, but many classically trained teachers have little experience of it and don't use it in their teaching. Many books deal with the subject but most require a level of theory, technique and aural skills first. This course starts at the other end : encouraging improvisation from lesson 1, and using it to help pupils learn those skills as well as to foster creativity.
What will we cover?
Much of this course is duet-based. You will learn a set of accompaniments for your pupils to improvise over, following progressively more advanced rules, from 'black keys only' to chord-based playing. We will discuss what to expect from your students, what tips to give them, and what they can learn from each exercise. We will explore how to move from duets to solo improvising, and look at some aspects of blues, jazz and pop playing.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- improvise with more confidence (if you had little experience before)
- introduce improvisation into your teaching, from beginner level onwards
- know what you might expect from your pupils' improvising, and how to help them progress
- use improvisation as a tool for teaching theory, coordination and aural skills.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course is aimed at practising or aspiring piano teachers. You should possess technical, sight-reading, aural and theory skill sufficient to teach at least at beginner level.
You need to be able to follow wrritten and verbal instructions in English, and participate in discussions and practical activities.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The classes will take place in a room where each student is at a digital piano. Teaching methods will include tutor demonstration, discussion, group and solo playing, and guided improvisation in a supportive environment. You will be given sheet music for the piano accompaniments and for impro tips. Time will be allotted to practise tasks using headphones before we play together. Practice between sessions, including trying out the course material in your own teaching, will be beneficial.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Comprehensive handouts will be provided. You are advised to make notes in the sessions, and to bring manuscript paper. You may wish to record parts of the class.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Apply these ideas and strategies in your teaching practice.