Designed for beginners...

Traditional piano/keyboard tuition has often been based around specific musical forms and sometimes involves learning some gruelling pieces in order to 'progress'. Music notation is often introduced long before the student has become familiar with the geography of the keyboard and does not take into account the musical aspirations of each student. Keyboard Versatility takes a different approach.

The keyboard was designed to fit the human hand and any meaningful progress involves taking the time to help people find their own music making and to 'own' the territory of the keyboard. Rather than impose a set of standard pieces, students can define the type of music they most want to be able play, the tutor identifies exercises and pieces that support that path and defines useful learning material from it.

The Keyboard Versatility course is as relevant to someone who wants to learn boogie-woogie, jazz, romantic classics as it is to any other style.

Sight reading music notation is a valuable skill and, for some types of music, absolutely necessary, however building the relationship between the hands, the keyboard and the ears should be undertaken first. Learning to read music notation is far easier if the student does not need to keep looking down at the hands and has a degree of 'musical' confidence first. The ability to explore and experiment is normally overlooked in piano tuition but music is a human activity and that's how we are. The Keyboard Versatility course provides a logical and secure understanding of piano playing and unpicks the theory and practice from the ground up and in a logical order.

The theory of it all

Unusally for a piano course we start with improvisation as we explore the keyboard and how to get our ears, eyes and fingers to work together. Such thorny items as scales and chords are presented in a logical and simple context aiming for a thorough understanding of the basics. A primary aim of the course is to equip each student to continue learning and developing after attending the course.

Music notation

Music notation is introduced at the point where students feel confident and comfortable at the keyboard and initially uses lead sheets. Lead sheets, traditionally showing the melody line with chord symbols, allow for an easy way in to sight reading and the chance to develop chord playing skills. Students choose the pieces they want to learn and the notation is unpicked and explained as we go.
I don't use the outdated 'every good boy...' system which has some drawbacks but a landmark system which is far more musical and intuitive.

Lapis Piano