improvisation

After last month’s article, are you still looking for:

  • A few ideas for a fresh new way to start off a lesson?
  • A few quick improv games to use in a group setting?
  • A reward activity for a student’s hard work on an assignment?
  • Starter ideas for the next composition:

In each part of this series, we are exploring a different angle in the music creativity process. So, today we are going to explore improvisation with an activity I call…

“Walking the Dog!”

Excuse Me? You may be wondering what exercising your pet has to do with improvisation techniques? I have found this to be one of the best and ways to help my students to understand and practice development of motifs and phrases. Most people can relate to having a new pet with fond recollection, and so you’ll immediately have their eager attention to try this exercise when you greet them with “Today we’re walking the dog!”

The Motif: A Mini Melody

I first ask the student to play a mini, or baby melody, 3 or 4 notes (recommend mostly steps and maybe one larger interval).  [···]

Read More


My studio has been decorated with a beautiful collection of paper snowflakes with wintery musical accompaniments! Each unique paper sculpture was lovingly created by one of my students. The collection started with one lonely snowflake, and gradually grew into a populous cluster that dangles from the ceiling, over the end of the grand piano.

What a rewarding activity this turned out to be…the students were immediately drawn in upon entering the studio and seeing the snowflakes created by the others. Within minutes they were cutting out their own unique snowflakes, and shortly thereafter, recreating their snowflakes in sound. This is fun and easy to do, even if you have had very little experience in teaching improvisation! [···]

Read More

OH! The HOLIDAYS!

As teachers, we’re not the only ones with ever increasing lists of “To-Do’s”. With extra performances, programs and parties it can become overwhelming, can’t it? Our students and their families also have their busy holiday schedules, and, as most of you can agree, the focus can just go completely out the window! So, how do we keep the lessons productive and fun throughout these seasons? Whether it be Christmas and Hanukkah, birthdays, Ground Hog Day, or summer vacation, the list can go on and on! [···]

Read More