In this section, we explore some of the ways in which piano learning can be enhanced through different degrees of piano improvisation.
(The following songs are performed by Coach Eric, for the purpose of showing playing styles and concepts. Click to listen).
You will hear two piano samples of probably, the most popular, simple song in the world, ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’. At the top is the traditional, ‘normal’ way of playing the song. At the bottom is a reharmonised, contemporary (with a touch of jazz) version of the same song. You will hear that the reharmonised version has more complex harmonies, voicings and rhythm patterns compared to the more ‘classical’ style of the first one.
Note that the key centre also changes a bit from time to time, with pivotal cadences at different phrasings. Our Pop Piano and Jazz Piano programme systematically goes through these concepts so that you can learn these one step at a time.
All these sounds great but you do have to master the basics of piano improvisation first before dwelling into more advanced stuff like this! 🙂 Patience and Perseverance is key!
Twinkle played Traditionally:
This song ‘Rainbow Connection’, is played in a flowing, waltz-ballad style instead of the faster 3/4 time signature that was found in the original recording. This approach makes the whole song sound more ‘relaxed’ and ‘chill’. Again, even for a song with a basic chord progression, we can alter both chords and introduce different melodic embellishments to improvise over a song.
Thy Word & I Can Only Imagine:
Again, the whole idea here is to progress your playing from a straightforward, note-based style to a more modern style as part of piano improvisation.
Piano improvisation involves not just playing chords or adding embellishments, but also a thorough understanding and application of solid pianistic techniques.
Piano improvisation is both an art and a skill that can be taught systematically so you are guided every step of the way. Piano improvisation can be taught! (but you need to be patient too to learn this skill!)