Teaching video: LH improv patterns for student compositions - Top Music Co
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Teaching video: LH improv patterns for student compositions

By Tim Topham | Creativity

Sep 08 2013

lh improv patterns student compositionsI’ve had a lot of people ask me about teaching basic improvising, especially for their teenage and adult beginner students, so I thought I’d show you an excerpt from a lesson where I introduce left hand patterns that can form the basis for exciting student compositions.

There’s a great blog called Pianofeeling that has a whole series of articles introducing composition for beginners. For example, check out his article about LH accompaniment patterns for more ideas on the topic of this video. It’s well worth spending some time on his blog – it’s a real treasure-trove of ideas for teaching composition.

Here are some quick links to articles from his “Guide to Composition”:

Chord Progressions


I really enjoy the PianoFeeling articles as they teach in the same way as me: give students some cool ideas (chord progressions, patterns, riffs, blues scales, etc.) and then let them experiment and find their own “sound”.

For more background about my teaching ideas on this subject, have a read of any of the following articles:

  • Teaching 12 Bar Blues to inspire beginners (especially boys!)
  • Chord progressions for beginners – teaching video
  • Strategies for teaching improvisation to beginners
  • Using “sus” chords to inspire beginners

PS. I accept that my student’s posture isn’t ideal – getting teenage boys to sit up straight without reminding is getting increasingly difficult in my opinion! I also note that the pedal sounds very heavy in this recording – this is an issue with the microphone and room rather than the student, but you get the idea. Have fun!



About the Author

Tim Topham is the founder and director of TopMusic. Tim hosts the popular TopCast show, blogs regularly at topmusic.co and speaks at local and international conferences on topics such as pedagogy, business, marketing and entrepreneurship. Tim has been featured in American Music Teacher, The Piano Teacher Magazine, California Music Teacher and EPTA Piano Professional. Tim holds an MBA in Educational Leadership, BMus, DipEd and AMusA.

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