The Creative Keyboardist Course
The 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.
Reading standard notation; reading lead sheets/fakebooks; sightreading/sightplaying; reading in all 12 keys
Recognizing/naming intervals, scales, chords, and harmonic progressions by ear; playing by ear; transcribing music
Intervals; basic triads; basic tetrads; the circle of 5ths; standard chord progressions; tensions; advanced chords
Basic rhythms; standard rhythmic feels; syncopation; polyrhythms
Major, minor and chromatic scales; the modes; blues scales; advanced scales; principles of fingering
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
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.)
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
Fills; broken chords, voicings, parallel devices; secondary dominants; bass lines; introductions; transitions; endings
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 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
Lessons are 45 or 60 minutes long. Students may begin at any time of year.
Young adult students, see Scholarships below.
45 minute weekly lessons are $60/lesson
60 minute weekly lessons are $75/lesson
A limited number of scholarships are available for highly-motivated young adult students (18-30) to reduce tuition costs. A work/skills trade is another possible option if I can’t offer you a scholarship. You should have (a) access to an acoustic or weighted-action digital piano for practicing; (b) time for 30-60 minutes of daily practice; and (c) extensive daytime availability on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and/or Thursdays for lessons. To inquire about scholarships, send a detailed message that includes your age; your circumstances that may warrant a scholarship; your past musical experience (if any); the styles you’re most interested in learning to play (e.g. jazz, blues, classical, ragtime, rock/pop or other styles); and your musical goals.
The Portland Piano Lab is located in the Alberta Arts District in NE Portland. Free parking is available. See Location for a map.