Your studio window is open, the fan is humming in the background, and the sounds of sprinklers, lawn mowers and kids riding bikes filter into the studio while you… teach piano.
It’s that time of year when end-of-school activities, sports, picnics, parties and weekends on the lake start to vie for your piano students’ attention (and yours!). This means it’s also the perfect time of year to switch gears momentarily and venture into some improv fun.
You can keep the learning happening, while taking a fun break from the same old, same old with the Summertime Blues Improv Activity we’re sharing today!
How To Rock Out To The Summertime Blues
This activity is an easy way to make sure that your piano students’ first encounters with improv are successful and fun. If you’ve never taught improv before don’t despair… everything is done for you:
With your student, clap the rhythm of each “Summertime Blues” sentence. If your student would rather make up his own sentence, we’ve included a blank card.
Have your student select two cards that appeal to him. Put all of the other cards to the side.
Using a modified version of the blues scale, by adjusting the C Minor pentascale to include just C, Eb, F and G, ask your student to experiment with creating melodies to match his two selected rhythms (from Step 3).
Begin playing your teacher duet part. When your student is ready, he can join in playing a melody (from Step 4) that matches either one or both rhythm cards (in an octave that doesn’t interfere with your part).
Encourage him to switch back and forth between his two melody/rhythm combinations, to repeat one card over and over and to experiment with new melodies. As your student becomes comfortable with adding his part to yours, he can then add harmonic intervals, change octaves and create his own rhythmic additions. Repeat until you’re both feelin’ the Summertime Blues!
You’d Better Start A File For These Improv Freebies…
If your students had a blast with this Summertime Blues Improv Activity you’ll want to file away our other improv activities for future use!