C'mon Get Happy

Scientific Proof

Winter weather getting you down? A recent study proved that being creative makes you happier. Even if the end product is less than a masterpiece, purely the process of creating breeds happiness. A quote from an article about the research findings:

“Engaging in creative pursuits allows people to explore their identities, form new relationships, cultivate competence, and reflect critically on the world.”

Good news! There is an unprecedented line-up of creative opportunities this summer for you—pianists and educators—to engage in creative pursuits where you will

  • explore your identity at the keysAll-Around-This-World-Smiley-Face-Note-300-dpi-for-USPTO
  • form new relationships on the bench
  • interact with master teachers who will cultivate competence in your playing beyond the page
  •  reflect on your present style of instruction
  • experience a critical shift in the way you teach

Where and when are these unique events?

• 88 Creative Keys Camp in Columbus, Ohio: June 9-11

• 88 Creative Keys Camp in Denver, Colorado: July 21-24

• SMU-IPT: The Creative Piano Teacher in Dallas, Texas: July 8-11

About 88 Creative Keys

Clavier Ad Jan 2014

Repeat Performance

Last summer was the inaugural launching of the first piano camp called 88 Creative Keys to focus solely on improvisation. Bradley Sowash and I took a chance that students, adult pianists, and educators would be interested in learning to balance traditional reading skills with hands-on instruction in developing ear skills.

If you build it, they will come… To our surprise and delight, we nearly sold-out to students of all ages from several states.  Based on that enthusiastic response, we’ve decided to offer a second location this summer at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio in collaboration with Suzuki Music Columbus in addition to extending our Denver camp.

New This Year

• The theme is "Four Chord Wonders" focusing on the many pop songs that can be learned by ear with only I, IV, V and vi chords

• Added two more hours of instruction to each day

• More off-the-bench games with me (Leila)

• An option for higher level students to study advanced elements of improvisation with Bradley in the afternoons


BONUS: Charlene Shelzi of TCW Resources of Kjos Publications will be attending the Denver camp AND showcasing her dynamic and interactive games at Schmitt Music Denver on Thursday, July 31st.

REGISTER for 88 Creative Keys HERE!


SMU postcard

If the Colorado and Ohio locations and dates don’t work with your calendar, consider attending SMU-IPT, Southern Methodist University's Institute for Piano Teachers. Bradley and I will be joining forces with Forrest Kinney, author of the Pattern Play series and Sam Holland, Director of the SMU Division of Music for a one-of-a-kind conference called "The Creative Piano Teacher."

Each day will include innovative hands-on sessions with a keyboard for each participant, interactive talks, teaching demonstrations, off-the-bench activities, tips on integrating the latest apps, flash talks given by fellow attendees, roundtable discussions, and more. In addition, we have planned unstructured social time for attendees and faculty, a banquet, and unique concert performances by Bradley and Forrest.

Session Titles Include

• Principles of Creativity-Based Pedagogy

• Preparing Students for Jazz Band and Praise Team

• Lesson APPlications

• Teaching Fundamentals and Literature with Creativity

• Going Further with Lead sheets

• Creative Solutions to Common Problems

• Beyond Anxiety

• and MUCH more...



Again, here are three ways to get happy building your creative keyboard skills in summer 2014:

1) Columbus, OH 88 Creative Keys, June 9 - 14

2) Dallas, TX SMU-IPT, July 8 - 11

3) Denver, CO 88 Creative Keys, July 21 - August 2

Questions about content, enrollment, housing, etc.? Feel free to contact us by clicking here.


Hope to see you somewhere! Perhaps the MTNA Conference in a couple of weeks?


-Leila and Bradley