King’s School improvisation workshop
I began by playing a bluesy improvised piece from Jazz Preludes, with track, which went down well. Then I asked the boys to listen to 3 snippets of piano improvisation – from Oscar Peterson, Jamie Cullum and Lyle Mays. This got us into a discussion about what the relationship is between what students play and what they listen to and we also touched on what sort of music they might want to improvise.
Then we were straight into improvisation on Intercity Stomp, using Improvise Microjazz as the source material. Various students helped me and did some good improvising very quickly. Here’s me with 2 students hard at work:
Students improvise with CN
I then moved onto A Day in Majorca and I showed the students how you can build up left hand chords, then a right hand solo, using The Easiest Way To Improvise.
Finally, we went onto American Popular Piano, using Spider Blues from Level 3 and Happy Times from Level 6. There were some quite startling results from the students who played and the rest of the group found it informative and, I think, entertaining.
The participants enjoyed trying some freer improvisation, using grace notes, pedal notes, tremolo and other tasty devices. I hope many of them will go away thinking that they can definitely start to improvise and that they have some tools for that purpose as well.