Careful! Creativity May Lead to Addiction


There's nothing quite like creating your own music. Have you tried it? Below is aIMG_3221 video of my go at a boogie, something taught at the 2015 88 Creative Keys (88CKC) co-founded by Bradley Sowash and yours truly. Bradley developed a historically accurate catalog or "lickopedia" of the typical boogie form and patterns. Prior to our camp, Bradley and I designed the pedagogical steps needed to successfully teach this style to our 88 Creative Keys attendees. Although I had played through our sequential curriculum prior to the camp, there was little time for me to absorb and master the plan. After the 88 CKC dust settled, I couldn't wait to get my boogie on. Here's my latest boogie after a week of practicing using our strategy.

Keep in mind that I'm a classically trained pianist, even earned a master's degree in piano performance and pedagogy but never experienced a lick of jazz instruction until a few years ago. If I knew I wasn't annoying my household so much, I'd be playing this over and over again. I've had SO much fun gettin' on my boogie shoes. It's official: I'm addicted. If I can do it, you can too! Fellow 88 Creative Keys attendees, how's your boogie? Care to share?

My addiction means I want to spread the good news about creativity. However, I get weary of promoting our efforts at 88CKC. I want everyone to magically get new profileon board this creative track. My wish is that every pianist and piano teacher would enjoy the same freedom I now experience away from the page.

Thankfully there is someone who recently caught this creativity bug AND she's a terrific blogger! Laura Lowe attended 88 Creative Keys 2015 and is now posting about her experience at our conference. Laura is a respected and well-educated musician (a fellow organist, too!) who is closely monitoring the shift in today's piano teaching. Bradley and I were happy to award her our first 88 Creative Keys Deputy Scholarship. Coming from Georgia, we know Laura sacrificed time away from her family and studio and we appreciate her participation at 88CKC and her follow-up reports. If you've grown tired of hearing me "cheerlead" the cause of creativity, I believe you will be open to Laura's insightful and inspiring articles.

Follow this link to hear about Laura's experience on Day One.

This was the first time I've ever participated in a workshop where it was possible for everyone to play together on keyboards. It was really helpful to be able to actually do the activities rather than just be told how to do them.

Follow this link to read Laura's experience on Day Two.

One of the big take-aways from this conference is the realization that this improvisation business really is attainable.

Follow this link to learn of Laura's experience on Day Three entitled, What Will My Teaching Philosophy Be In Regard To Improvisation?

So, I'm convinced that creativity and improvisation in particular should be an essential part of piano instruction. Now, how am I going to put that to work in my studio?

Speaking of creativity, will I get to see you at NCKP (National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy) next week? I'll be there chairing the Creative Pianist Track and supporting creativity gurus Forrest Kinney and Bradley Sowash.


Here's the program for the conference. If you are attending, I hope I'll see you at the Creative Pianist Pre-Conference track, my session entitled "Finding Time to be Creative" or the JoyTunes' showcase. PLEASE introduce yourself, I'd love to meet you in person and connect a name to a face!

PS: You have a chance to  win one of these crazy pointers if you attend one of the events listed above!