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It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Most people can't believe that you can only use 2 chords to create a few minutes of music. They really can't believe that they can do it themselves on the piano. Here's where the fun begins.
For instance, take the improvisation exercise Monterey Beach. Here, we use only 2 chords, A Major 7 and F# minor 7 to create a nice little improvisation.
Because we know that we will be playing just 2 chords, it allows us to move around with them and express ourselves at the keyboard much more easily. Why is this? Because we've limited choice. You' don't have to worry about when to switch chords or what chords to play. The improvisation exercise takes care of that. Now, you can just focus on playing around with your materials, in this case chords, and have fun.
This approach to improvisation gives students the opportunity to relax and actually enjoy the process of music making. They don't have to worry about scales or practicing for hours on end in order to "sound good." On the contrary, students learn that they can actually play the piano using chords and make music right away!
Improvisation exercises like Monterey Beach prove to be an invaluable way for students to understand how to use the materials of music - which are chords and the element of time. We play around with these two and are surprised at what comes out of us. Perfection is not our goal here. Being in the moment and experiencing the joy of improvisation is.