Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My ten-year-old student likes to "tell stories" at the piano. This involves her picking a combination of four or five tones. Working only with those tones, though in different registers, she improvises a story.

Lately she has become fascinated with the complex tonal and rhythmic textures of Lowell Liebermann's Album for the Young (which I highly recommend). Her improvisation was of a completely new level of complexity, moving freely with different rhythms in each hand.

I showed her how to make the story even more exciting by transposing the initial set of tones. Since this is a piano improvisation she could do it by matching or reversing the disposition of white and black keys as well as the intervals. Immediately she went to town transposing, even inverting with a sly smile.

It is a privilege to watch a young musical mind at work.