Have you ever taught your student how to improvise? Even though my piano teachers never taught it to me, I teach it to every student on their first lesson. They all have a blast improvising and it does not take much knowledge to do!
How can you include improvising sessions during lessons?
I teach improvisation at the very first lesson with the groups of two and three black keys. This works with any ages starting as young as 4 years old and also works well with adults. Using the groups of two and three black keys helps the younger students with identifying the black keys on the piano. Click here to get an improvisation teacher part for the black keys.
First Months of Lessons
There are a few method books that include teacher parts for improvising. If the student has some extra time during their lesson, then sneak in an improvising session with them! Improvising practice is also great if the student forgets their books.
Years of Lessons
With your older beginners who have been learning for 1-2 years can improvise on the white keys. Give them a chord progression of I - vi - IV - V to improvise with. You can play along with the chord progressions on the piano. You can also use the 12 bars of blues for your jazz fans (I - I - I - I - IV - IV - I - I - V - IV - I - I).
Improvising does not have to be with the teacher or another student. It can instead be along with a backing track with drums and bass. You can get an app that has different backing tracks to plug into a speaker to play.
If your student enjoys improvising, then encourage them to improvise at the recital! It will surprise the audience that your student will be making up their own notes and your student will have fun doing something different for the recital. Here's one of my students improvising in the middle of this jazz piece for our studio recital!
How do you use improvisation in your studio? Let us know in the comments!