Elena Cobb’s Higgledy Piggledy Jazz has recently been added on Piano Maestro (FREE for teachers and students!). Now students all over can enjoy hits like Super Duck, I Ate All the Choc’late and Nerdy Cat’s Twist with the fun backing tracks! To celebrate Elena has offered to give away an unlimited reproduction copy of Higgledy Piggledy Jazz to a lucky teacher.
This Wednesday, September 24th; 9-10am MTN time, Elena is holding a webinar through JoyTunes on tips on using this fun book along with Piano Maestro PLUS tips on how to teach improvisation in your lesson! Even if you can’t make it live, register so you can watch the recording later. Click here to register.
Also more exciting news for those of you in the US and are interested in ordering Elena’s music! No more expensive shipping charges for her American customers! Beginning next week, all deliveries will be handled by the distributer and delivered by the Priority Mail to your door.
Exciting things are happening at ElenaCobb.com, be sure to check them out. To enter the giveaway mentioned above, leave a comment on how you like to use improvisation in your studio. Deadline to enter is by next Saturday, September 27, 2014; 10:00pm AZ MST.
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I like to use improv as a fun ending to lessons, takes the pressure off the kids and makes them feel like they are really playing some cool music. Lately we’ve been doing black key improv while I make up an accompaniment pattern in Gb major.
would like t use improvisation as a kind of ear training at the beginning of the lesson
I use improv as a way to make scales more fun by accompanying with a simple comping pattern while the student explores the scale.
Match the beat/tempo/style black-key improv to my accompaniment, improv accompaniment to lead sheets, Q & A phrases, discover the harmonic or rhythmic bones of a piece and make up a piece based on that, make up a piece using a new concept.
I like to let my students do it with hymns, scales.
I find that the earlier I start improv with my students, the easier it is for them. The little beginners aren’t afraid to make mistakes like the older students are.
I usually do improv duets with students, to encourage listening skills and exploration. Students also do solo improv, but the duets help the ones who are really shy or afraid to make a “mistake.”
I LOVE to use improvisation with my youngest students because they are not self conscious yet. Some great sounding musical ideas always pop up during these sessions!
I like to do improv duets with my students so they are not so inhibited. I think it’s great to start early on with students. Doing improv on new piano concepts helps them internalize the concepts.
I believe improvisation is an important part of teaching. It helps the students to use their imaginations, and I love to listen to what they come up with.
My students enjoy a bit of improvising at most lessons. Many of them prepare for exams in Contemporary Idioms & improv is a required component
I would love to win Elena’s new book. I’m always looking for new ideas on how to teach and improv has been my weakest. It’s most needed in my studio in helping students learn to improv for hymn playing.
I have Bradley Sowash’s books on teaching Jazz and would love to add to that with Higgledy Piggledy! I think that these are student savers and a life skill if you are a musician!
A few of my students LOVE Piano Maestro. This would be so much fun.
Needing to add more improv to my teaching. I look forward to Elena Cobb’s materials as a valuable teaching resource. Her materials are so creative..
We love to use the Pattern Play books in our studio!
I teach this all visually before they even learn to read notes on the staff! We find Middle C on piano and all other C’s on Keyboard. We name Middle C, Bass C and Low C (second C below Middle C) They LOVE being able to play the blues from very first lessons! I use the blues scale run (see below) to begin teaching improvisation, especially after they have learned the 12 Bar Blues in Left Hand in the pattern: I – IV – I – I , IV – IV – I – I , V – IV – I – I in the Key of C.
We play a single Chord in the Right Hand, held for 4 beats while the left hand is playing:
I = (Low C-G to Low C-A-2 times to equal four beats, IV = (Low F-C to Low F-D-2 times=four beats, V = (LowG – D to Low G – E-2 times= ifour beats- just like Elena Cobb’s Super Duck chords!
The Blues Scale Run notes C, Eb, F, F# (Gb) G, Bb, C can be taught visually by drawing 3 triangles on a white board:
A large triangle joined by a small triangle in the middle, then by another large triangle.
This is the pattern on the keyboard for the Blues Scale Run: Middle C, Eb, F (large triangle)
F, F# (Gb) G (small triangle) G, Bb, C (large triangle)
(I wish I could draw it on this page but I can’t do it with typed symbols!)
So I just help them play the run in the right hand (using thumbs on all white notes and finger #3 on all black notes!) We try to accent the C’s and the F#’s (Gb’s) so it has the feel of the Triplets that gives it the feel of the blues. Once they have learned the Blues Scale Run up and back down a couple of octaves, we start using those blues scale notes to improvise above the Left Hand Blues Chord progression: I – IV – I – I, etc.
This sounds very complicated, but it is really very easy to teach and maybe I’ll make a video of it one day and offer it on You Tube! LOL!
With Love and Music,
Susan Pope Justesen, Director
Ms. Susan’s School of Music
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA
All of these comments are very inspiring! I do some white and black key improv with my newer students while I accompany them, however I do find myself getting away from it with more advanced students since we always seem pressed for time to cover their lesson assignments. I’m going to make a point to continue to focus on this regularly with all students!
i love to improv with my students.
The earlier you start — definitely the easier it is for the student !
I have an improv exercise at least every other lesson & use it in group lessons once a semester.
I try to include improv of some type in every class. We often use other instruments — rhythm sticks for rhythm improv; resonator bars. Sometimes it is easier than doing it on the piano, plus the variety helps the kids.
I like to start lessons with a fun improvisation. Super excited about your book!
I love using improv with students of all ages- especially when they get frustrated with reading or working through a hard piece. We put it away and just JAM! It reminds them that music is supposed to be FUN and that they are wonderfully creative!