Are You a Creative Piano Teacher?

IMG_0786 So, do YOU consider yourself a teacher of creativity?

That's the question of my friend, colleague, business partner and now my master improv teacher, Bradley Sowash. You may recall that had a sister site called where we both posted tips for improvisation. Bradley and I are now using that site to feature our camps and clinics for adults, teachers, and students. By the way, we just recently set the dates for next summer: July 14-Aug 1, 2014.  If you are interested in

  • learning how to improvise or expanding your skills
  • teaching how to improvise with more confidence
  • enrolling students in a unique summer camp called "Play it Your Way"

then please check out our site You'll hear more about next summer's events here at too, so stayed tuned.

Back to the original topic--where are the posts previously found at the sister site They have been moved to the Here you will find a collection of posts about creating beyond the page by Bradley, me and soon, other teachers/bloggers/improvisers who wish to share their experiences as a teacher of creativity.

In his most recent post Bradley writes about his experience presenting on the subject of improvisation at the Ohio Music Teachers Association. In his article he calls for names of teachers who see the importance of integrating improvising and playing by ear along with interpreting classical repertoire. If you've been hanging out here at, you know I'm on board and on the list, how 'bout you?


Instead of me explaining, get the entire scoop by reading the post by Bradley Sowash:

If you teach improvisation alongside a traditional reading curriculum, I want to hear from you.  I’m compiling a list of instructors who balance a music-reading curriculum with playing by ear.  Here’s why…

Notes found on a chair after my lecture

Last March, we had a standing-room-only capacity crowd for the pop/jazz track at the Music Teachers Nat’l Assoc. conference.  More recently, the Ohio Music Teachers Association generated a good turnout for my lecture on teaching improvisation at last month’s conference. Since I do teacher-training workshops all around the country, it was a treat to present in my own state for a change (and sleep in my own bed!). After my talk, I received some pretty sweet compliments about my speaking style and humor.  Of course, that always feels good, but sometimes I wonder if my lectures and workshops have any impact. Do teachers actually go back to their studios and give improvisation a try or are my presentations merely edutainment?

My colleagues sometimes tell me they like the idea of teaching creativity but it’s hard for them to actually get on board because it just feels so darn unfamiliar.  Having been trained to read written music exclusively, they just cannot imagine themselves playing off the written page.  For example, two teachers at OMTA privately apologized to me ahead of time for not coming to my “hands on” piano lab sessions because they were literally too scared. “Improvisation terrifies me,” said one. Meanwhile, I was thinking to myself, “These fine people don’t need an improv piano lab; they need a hug.”  When I pointed out that they were welcome to use headphones so no one would hear them trying out the concepts anyway, they said it didn’t matter. It makes me sad to think that someone or something in their past had planted the belief that self-expression is too frightening to even try.  I call this phenomenon “improvphobia” and it’s rampant among classically trained musicians.


17416200Don't forget, you can find Bradley's sage advice packaged in his nifty books called That's Jazz. Make sure to add his Christmas books to your collection as well!


Counting down the days until the release of my book: The iPad Piano Studio: Keys to Unlocking the Power of iPad Revolution-Book-Comp-4 2Apps. If you already pre-ordered, you will be hearing from me shortly.

If interested in learning more or to pre-order, click here. -Leila