Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Improvising With The Brand New Student

                                          Periscope #12
                    Improvising With a Brand New Student

First off, here is a student who really gets in the groove with the Pop Song Improv. You can find more information here.  Isn't he great! Pardon the upside down view.


   You can improvise with even a beginning student. The key of Gb major works wonderfully. Your student can use any of the black notes on the keyboard. They all sound great. If they are stumped and are shy to begin, show them how to put fingers 2,3,4 on the three blacks keys and move from key to key. Encourage them to move into different octaves. As the teacher, play a slow 4/4 time arpeggiating the Gb chords. Get acquainted with the various ways to arppegiate the chords formed from the scale.

     Here I have listed the degrees of the scale, the boxed in letters are the scale names, and following the scales names are some possible notes to arpeggiate. I use a sequence that starts with Gb, the first degree of the scale, then goes down to Eb, the sixth degree of the scale, moves lower to Cb, the fourth degree of the scale, then moves up to Db, the fifth degree of the scale, and goes back home. You can also use an extended sequence with minor chords in the second degree, listed on the second row.
   Some huge benefits of improvising are:

  1. You can see how well your student feels rhythm if they fit within your accompaniment.
  2. You learn to really listen and feel the student's musical sensibility.
  3. You can help them develop a melodic ear.
  4. Improvising is relaxing and soul satisfying. 
If you watch a sample of my Periscope video, below, you can hear a story of parent feedback after listening to her child improvise with me.


   If you would like to see the accompaniment to this improvisation written out, here is a sample.

Next week on Periscope I'll demonstrate a different improvisation pattern with add ons. This becomes just 5-8- minutes of my lesson time but can really energize my students.

 I am on Periscope on Tuesdays at 10:30 PST and my screen name is GabriB. I hope you will visit me.

Also check out Elizabeth Gutierrez on Periscope. She does teachings tips in 10 minutes on Tuesday mornings at 8:00am CST and I really enjoy her insights. Her handle is @pianoprof88 and she has a great blog. 

     Periscope is a free app by the Twitter company that allows you to broadcast all over the world. There is no time limit. Viewers can participate by typing messages and questions and by sending hearts for content they like. The recorded broadcast is viewable for 24 hours after airing.



  1. Found your blog today, and I'm in love! Thank you for sharing all these wonderful ideas!

    1. Wow! Sara, how nice of you to stop and give me feedback. Your vote of confidence will keep me going. What did you like best?