Every time I pull out an improv activity, my piano kids won’t let me do anything else for the rest of the lesson. Their enthusiasm is contagious, as their creativity and confidence bubbles over.
Even my “tough customers” will crack a smile and participate excitedly.
And while my students and I certainly have many other activities and tasks to cover over the course of a lesson, I’m okay with improvising taking centre stage if it means that my kiddos will go racing out my studio door, spilling over with enthusiasm. Because… hey… who wouldn’t want that?!
A Valentine’s Day Improv Activity For Your Piano Kids
‘Tis the season of love, and today’s improv activity will help you instil a love for improvising as you and your students create a beautiful and flowing improvised duet. During this activity your students will experiment with different rhythmic and melodic combinations on the black keys, while you will provide the accompaniment using a simple chord pattern in Gb Major (a suggestion for the music is below). Here’s how it works…
Print and cut out the Valentine’s Day Improv Cards found here. They are designed to be printed double-sided (although this is optional).
Practice saying each phrase while clapping the rhythms. Then have your students do the same, while playing the rhythms on any one black key.
Ask your students to select their two favorite cards and place them on the piano.
Begin playing this accompaniment (or one of your own creation if you prefer). You can print the sheet music here.
With their fingers on a group of three black keys, have your students find melodies to match the two different rhythms. They can repeat the rhythms and melodies several times, alternating between the two… any combination is fine. They’ll be using their “made up melodies” (any combination of black keys matched to their chosen rhythms) for the duration of the duet.
Once your students are comfortable using two cards, repeat this activity using two different cards. Then, repeat using four Valentine’s Improv Cards. Next, encourage them to embellish, explore their own rhythms, include other black keys… and have fun!
Add This To Your Improv Collection Too!
Our latest PianoBookClub.com book “The Unfortunate Appetite of Improv Alister” is the perfect starting point for students who are excited by improvising. Your students will love the hilarious story, the motivating music, and the familiar structure of repertoire paired with the freedom of improv! Grab this book before it’s retired on February 26th by clicking here.