I’ve had a lot of people ask me about teaching basic improvising, especially for their teenage and adult beginner students, so I thought I’d show you an excerpt from a lesson where I introduce left hand patterns that can form the basis for exciting student compositions.
There’s a great blog called Pianofeeling that has a whole series of articles introducing composition for beginners. For example, check out his article about LH accompaniment patterns for more ideas on the topic of this video. It’s well worth spending some time on his blog – it’s a real treasure-trove of ideas for teaching composition.
Here are some quick links to articles from his “Guide to Composition”:
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- 07) One Chord Songs (part I) – showing how you can compose on only one chord
- 09) One Chord Songs (part III) – Augmented Progressions – compositions based on slight variations of the same chord (think of the James Bond sound).
- 10) Two Chords Circle Progressions – Major Mode – intro to chord relationships like I-V and I-IV
- 14) Chord Progressions (part I) – lots of great examples of 4-chord progression ideas
- 16) Making a melody – Right Hand Patterns – this is GOLD! Full of great ideas for RH patterns and melodic ideas. You could use these with students right away!
- 17) Making an accompaniment – Left Hand Patterns (part I)
I really enjoy the PianoFeeling articles as they teach in the same way as me: give students some cool ideas (chord progressions, patterns, riffs, blues scales, etc.) and then let them experiment and find their own “sound”.
For more background about my teaching ideas on this subject, have a read of any of the following articles:
- Teaching 12 Bar Blues to inspire beginners (especially boys!)
- Chord progressions for beginners – teaching video
- Strategies for teaching improvisation to beginners
- Using “sus” chords to inspire beginners
PS. I accept that my student’s posture isn’t ideal – getting teenage boys to sit up straight without reminding is getting increasingly difficult in my opinion! I also note that the pedal sounds very heavy in this recording – this is an issue with the microphone and room rather than the student, but you get the idea. Have fun!