Overcome Your Fear of Improvising This Summer!


Thank you to Wendy Stevens, a friend and colleague, for sharing the efforts of

88 Creative Keys at her highly respected site ComposeCreate.com.

Below is part of Wendy’s post and a link back to her site so you can read the rest. Wendy has been an advocate of creativity, obviously, from the start of her blog COMPOSE CREATE.com. We are thankful for her interest and support of our efforts.

Overcome Your Fear of Improvising This Summer!

“I’m always excited when there is an organized effort to help students and teachers foster the creativity that is already in them and us. Here at the beginning of the 21st century, I am seeing a shift in our profession in the area of reading music and improvising. Have you noticed how many of the methods have started incorporating more improvisation exercises in their books? If you were at MTNA, you might have noticed that there was standing room only for the pop/jazz track of pedagogy Saturday! Deep down inside, we all know that kids love to create their own music. And deeper still is the desire that we adults have to create and enjoy our creations.

Unfortunately, if you are a classical musician trained in the 20th Century, you might be fearful of improvising, composing, or just doodling at the piano. There just wasn’t an emphasis on these kinds of things in many traditional piano studios in the 20th Century. But, if I told you that improvising was possible for every pianist and that you could learn how to do it in a non-threatening way, would you try it?

Well, you have just that opportunity! I’m going to let Leila Viss and Bradley Sowash tell you all about it. But, I must first tell you that I have tremendous respect for these two musicians and can assure you that anything they do together will be a smashing success. They were the brains and the feet behind the jazz/pop track of Pedagogy Saturday and I’ve only heard raving reviews. See what you think about this great opportunity for your students and yourself!

Give us a short description of the opportunities you are offering this summer.

Eye players read music; Ear players improvise. To broaden their musical creativity and stylistic range, contemporary musicians need instruction in both. 88 Creative Keys was established to help students, musicians and educators balance their traditional skills with further training in creative music making.


The 88 Creative Keys camps and clinics will help you:

  • Play well-known tunes using both by ear and with lead sheets
  • Personalize music by embellishing melodies and improvising variations
  • Interpret pop/jazz chord symbols and apply stylistic accompaniments
  • Understand practical music theory tips as a means to playing more creatively”

. . . continue reading


Want to learn to improvise?  Consider using That’s Jazz, America’s top-selling jazz piano method, attending 88 Creative Keys camp, or inviting Bradley to lead a workshop or master class in your area.

Want to learn more about 88 Creative Keys Summer 2013 Events? Click here.

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