Learn to Teach Piano Improvisation with Forrest Kinney – Get a free Create First book!
I’m so excited to tell you about a brand new series of books by Forrest Kinney that is designed to teach improvisation to all ages of students, including beginners who have no pulse! I’ve been a fan of how Forrest teaches improvisation ever since I started seeing his workshops on his revolutionary Pattern Play* series. But THIS series is even better. It’s Forrest unfettered and even comes with videos showing how he teaches it and how to transition between duet improvisation and solo improv. Plus, it’s available in both book and digital form. He wanted it this way especially for you international teachers!
And because Forrest is a very generous person and a friend of mine who knows how amazing the ComposeCreate community is, he wants to give you:
- The enter Create First Duet book 1 for free!
- Samples of his Create First Solo book (see what you think, then run to his site to buy the solo book while it’s such a great deal.)
You get all of this because Forrest and I are friends and because I’ve told him how wonderfully creative you are and how generous and kind you all are. He has told me many times that he wants to give something very unique and special to you all and this is such a generous gift! I know because I’ve seen it.
This is gold.
So how do you teach piano improvisation to beginners?
How to teach piano improvisation to any student sometimes seems like an impossible task. But if you’ve seen Forrest Kinney talk about this, you know he can make it happen using his amazing duet-to-solo technique. But, the original Pattern Play* books can be a little harder than some beginners can handle, so Forrest has written Create First to teach piano improvisation to any student, even beginners!
How does this duet-to-solo technique work? Listen to Forrest as he shows us first and then tells us in this video how it’s done! Brilliant!
How does the Create First Improvisation Series Work?
Ideally, a student first plays each piece in the series as a duet with a teacher, then plays solo. So, for each piece, there is a duet version and a solo version. The Create First solo and duet book are separate books, and teachers who download the sample will get the the duet book for free along with a few samples of the solo book!
Each of the pieces has a score and also a video to demonstrate how to teach piano improvisation and specifically each piece with students.
Create First Duet Videos
The Duet Videos each show a teacher giving directions to a student and then the two of them playing together. Here is the video for “For the Joy,” the first piece that explores playing with a beat.
Create First Duet Books
The score for each piece in the Duet book has a Top part and a Bottom part. The Top part shows the group of notes the student plays with and suggests some starting rhythms. Usually the teacher will read this and just tell the student what to do. The Bottom part shows the Pattern (P), a short accompaniment pattern, and a Vacation (V), a contrasting pattern. The Bottom person moves back and forth between the Pattern and Vacation many times, varying them on the repeats.
What’s Next? What Do I Do After Teaching the Duet?
When the student is able to go solo (play hands together), the teacher shows student how to play the accompaniment in the Solo Book and then add improvised melodies. When at home, the student can be guided by the Solo Video, the Solo Book, or both.
Create First Solo Videos
Each Solo Video begins with a sample solo improvisation followed by a precise explanation of how to play both the Pattern and Vacation. In this way, a student who does not yet read music can still play a piece.
Here’s one of the solo videos that demonstrates how a student can improvise a solo even though they can’t read music. NOTE: Forrest shows how to explain it to students halfway through the video. The first part is him improvising using the technique.
Create First Solo Books
The Solo Books are designed for students who can read music at an elementary level (Prep A or B in the RCM system). Each piece has a Pattern, a Vacation, and a section labeled C (Create) that is filled with suggestions and ways to explore. You can see the solo page for “For the Joy” on the right and download it and others here.
Here’s another Create First Duet: Cool
You get the score for both the duet and the sample as a free download. Watch how Forrest gets the students started very quickly and easily and then adds notes only after noticing that the student is comfortable. This piece is in Level One and is called called “Cool.” This piece introduces the A blues scale.
Now the follow-up Create First solo: Cool
Here’s how to make into a solo.
Don’t you feel excited about teaching piano improvisation now?
What are your thoughts? Have you ever taught improvisation before? Have you ever taught with Forrest Kinney’s Pattern Play* books?
- Are You Afraid of Rote Teaching? Consider This,
- Controversial Things We Don’t Discuss: Memorizing Music
- Getting a Student Started Composing
*Pattern Play is a registered trademark of the The Frederick Harris Music Co., Limited