Keyboard harmony and improvisation for pianists

Course Dates: 13/01/20 - 30/03/20
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Simon Atkins

Develop your analytical, melodic and harmonic understanding with the help of improvisation, covering a wide variety of styles. You'll become a more confident player as a result. It is possible to join a later module if you have appropriate skills. For players at Grade 5 and above.


What is the course about?

If you have practical keyboard skills of Grade 5+, this course will introduce you to skills of improvisation. Ideal for pianists with little experience in this area, or those who require new ideas, structure and supervision for to develop their existing improvisation skills.

This course is taught in the digital piano classroom with a maximum of 15 per class. You will need access to a keyboard or piano outside class to practise between sessions.

What will we cover?

- How to create a satisfactory melodic shape and to understand and balance musical phrases
- Development of aural ability as an aid to realising musical imagination
- Understanding of the function of key and of chord patterns within a key
- Understanding a simple structure as a basis for improvisation
- Ability to add rhythmic interest to your improvisation
- Different styles of music and improvisation.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Improvise a simple 8 bar melody
- Improvise using major scale modes as a tool
- Structure an improvisation and explore the harmony of a chordal accompaniment
- Play confidently without music.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

At this level you need fluency at the keyboard to a Grade 5 standard. You should have had at least three years structured tuition and be able to coordinate both hands comfortably. A good knowledge of key centres and chords is essential. You need to be able to follow written and verbal instructions in English and engage in class discussions.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Classes are taught through tutor explanation and demonstration, group playing and individual practice (using headphones so the tutor can check individual progress). Sessions will also include class discussion, aural skills and theoretical study. You will take it in turn to improvise as a soloist, and accompany others.
To make good progress, you will need a regular practice routine.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Please bring notebook, manuscript paper and pencil. The tutor will provide material.
You may wish to record the class to aid your practice.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

This course comprises of three terms across the academic year. At the end of the course you may wish to consider one of our other piano courses for students at grade 5 and higher, or you can repeat this course for more experience at this level.

You may also be interested in developing your skills in harmony and improvisation through Pop piano or Jazz piano course, or playing with others in Chamber music ensembles, or Jazz harmony and ear training.

City Lit also offers a wide range of Music theory (through to Grade 8), Musicianship and Music appreciation courses of interest to pianists.


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Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

I would recommend it as it is so useful
Course Rating
Review by Anonimous / (Posted on 18/11/2019)
Tutor Biographies
We’re sorry. We don’t have a bio ready for the tutor of this class at the moment, but we’re working on it! Watch this space.

Book your place

Course Code: ME261B

Please choose a course date 

Mon, eve, 13 Jan - 30 Mar '20

Duration: 12 sessions (over 12 weeks)

Full fee: £179.00
Senior fee: £179.00
Concession: £109.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

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Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2630

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.