When a student plays a wrong note a piano teacher hears nails on a chalkboard. The student making the mistake, however, often hears nothing at all.
Many piano students treat music like a video game; the notes, rhythm, and dynamics in their piano pieces represent a series of challenges to conquer; their ultimate goal is to press the right keys at the right time.
These students are so focused on transferring what they see to what they play, that they ignore the connection between what they see and play with what they hear. It’s a great irony of piano lessons; kids learn piano to make pleasing sounds but don’t listen to see if the sounds they make are actually pleasing! 🙂
The key then, is to teach piano students to actively listen to the music that they are making. and the best way to accomplish this task is with an improv-based piano resource like the one that we are showcasing in today’s post.
Using Improv-Based Repertoire To Improve Active Listening
If you want your piano students to “listen as they play” then it is important to give them exercises that require active listening; and the best exercises to reinforce active listening involve improvisation.
When a student engages in an improvisation activity they get to experiment with creating melodies to match provided music. The focus of their experimentation is not trying to play the right key at the right time but instead trying to play the keys that make pleasing sounds. This is active listening instruction in its purest and most beneficial form.
Over time, piano students who engage in improv-based active listening exercises will learn to recognize by ear what “sounds correct” in a given key and with various chord progressions. They will also improve their rhythmic accuracy and fluency and increase their familiarity with melodic patterns.
Here’s Your Improv Repertoire To Improve Active Listening And Reduce Musical Mix-Ups
Rock My Way – Late Elementary Piano Improv Is February’s Book of the Month from Teach Piano Today’s PianoBookClub. It a thrilling first step into the world of improvisation. With simple left-hand accompaniments, repeating patterns and predictable formats, the pieces in this book will encourage your late elementary piano students to escape into improvisation and make the music their own.
Listen to some late elementary improv in action and then check out the visual preview below:
In each piece in the book the melody line of the B Section and of the ending has been removed from the treble staff. With only the rhythm remaining, piano students get to experiment in 5-finger positions to find pleasing melodies that make the music their own.
If you click on the image below you’ll be able to preview several pieces from the book.
If you like what you see and hear (and love the idea of receiving inspiring music in your email inbox every month), become a member of Teach Piano Today’s PianoBookClub for just $8 monthly and we’ll start you off with the digital book, Rock My Way – Late Elementary Piano Improv. Note: This digital book is only available until February 28, 2019.