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Piano Lessons: Creativity, composing, and diversifying

fritz nice hand position

Fritz, one of my young piano students, had been saddled with a long lesson due to his sister’s absence so he thought the “extra” time would be spent spot practicing the knotty measures of his Bach Minuet. Or he anticipated the same with his Boogie piece that had become a rich dessert following the main course.

To his surprise, I had an idea to use his Boogie as a compositional springboard. Perhaps, he could borrow the ostinato (repeated bass line) he had rehearsed but transpose it to another key. (from C Major to F) That seemed easy enough, but the next step would be the greater challenge, allowing his creative juices to flow through an improvised melodic line.

Naturally, the composing process involves trial and error experimentation, and with a 9-year old fledgling who might not be adept at notating his explorations, the teacher can reproduce his efforts on paper, or nudge him to name the notes within a temporal spectrum. (Fritz has had 3 years of piano, and considerable exposure to 5-finger positions in Major and parallel minor alongside one-octave scale study in parallel and contrary motion–Circle of Fifths cycle) Therefore, he’d been oriented to KEY relationships and Solfeggio, (the movable “do”)

Now the melodic undertaking would tap into his originality while providing a unique learning experience.

So Fritz experimented with various five-finger positions over the F Major Boogie bass, and finally settled upon an Eb Major tonal rendering with some chromatic movement. It was a discovery that had Bi-tonal implications. (He had sprung upon a key, other than F Major that “worked” and fit the jazzy genre)

What we jotted down together, is reproduced below along with a rendering of his early draft. The piece is not nearly done, but it’s a work in progress that will accrue updates.

Fritz Boogie draft 75

Fritz added to his Boogie, and is busy practicing it.

Fritz Boogie

Fritz composing at age 7 (Major and parallel minor explorations)

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