The Creative Keyboardist Course

Keyboardist on StageThe Creative Keyboardist Course is a rigorous and comprehensive program for adults and older teens who have professional aspirations to play or compose contemporary popular styles. All playing levels are welcome. Lessons are modular, meaning that you will focus on developing or strengthening the specific skills you need to attain your goals, while mastering the styles you want to play.

Skill Areas

Reading

Reading standard notation; reading lead sheets/fakebooks; sightreading/sightplaying; reading in all 12 keys

Ear Training

Recognizing/naming intervals, scales, chords, and harmonic progressions by ear; playing by ear; transcribing music

Harmony/Chords

Intervals; basic triads; basic tetrads; the circle of 5ths; standard chord progressions; tensions; advanced chords

Rhythm

Basic rhythms; standard rhythmic feels; syncopation; polyrhythms

Scales

Major, minor and chromatic scales; the modes; blues scales; advanced scales; principles of fingering

Theory

Inversions; root detection; enharmonic intervals; voice leading; the II-V-I progression; standard root progressions; tritone and other chord substitutions; cadences; pedal point; modulation; transposition

Keyboard Technique

Professional and effortless playing technique informed by the Taubman school of coordinate motion, the Body Mapping school and mindfulness.

Practicing Skills

Efficient practicing techniques; six important steps for learning any piece; memorizing techniques

Composition / Songwriting

Motives; melodic rhythms; sequences; contour; phrasing; prosody; harmonizing a melody; song forms (AAA, AABA, Verse-Chorus, etc.)

Improvisation

Basic skills including unity and contrast; repetition; phrasing; question and answer; advanced skills including comping; chord, passing and approach tones and tensions; chord scales; intervallic playing; chromatic playing

Arranging

Fills; broken chords, voicings, parallel devices; secondary dominants; bass lines; introductions; transitions; endings

Styles

Blues

12-bar blues; gospel blues; jazz blues; 8-bar blues; blues scales; blues licks; swing feel; ornamentation including grace notes, repeated notes, tremolos, and glissandos; blues improvisation

Jazz

Jazz standards; ragtime; stride; how to “swing”

Rock/Pop and Other Styles

Classic rock/pop; alternative rock; adult contemporary; Broadway/show tunes; R&B/soul; gospel; New Age

Scheduling and Tuition

60 minute weekly lessons are $65/lesson.* Students may begin at any time of year. *Partial scholarships may be available for highly motivated students ages 15-30 who commit to regular and intensive study, if financial need warrants it. Inquire for details.

Location

The Portland Piano Lab is located in the Alberta Arts District in NE Portland. Free parking is available. See Location for a map.

Ready to start, or have a question?

Contact the Portland Piano Lab