Beginning Piano Improvisation Activities

This post will explore beginning piano improvisation activities and why improvisation is so important.

Objectives, For students to feel comfortable making their own music. To inspire creativity. To build confidence and comfort at the keyboard.

“Improvise means make it up as I go along

I can play some music, and improvise a song”

Improvisation is an important part of learning to become a musician. Improvisation helps build ear training, technique, and creativity. Improvising also makes the student comfortable at the piano. Not to mention the fact that improvisation is fun!


Here are my favorite beginning piano improvisation activities I use with my youngest students.

  1. Use the black keys to improvise beautiful music that features the pentatonic scale. Have your student hold the pedal down (or hold it for him).
  2. Have your student improvise a melody to a simple poem.
  3. Play an improvised musical phrase and have your student “answer” with their own improvised phrase
  4. Use pictures or other objects (prompts) to spark improvisational ideas.
  5. Suggest a set of notes for your student to use while improvising (for example C, E, F, and G).
  6. Suggest rhythmic patterns for improvising
  7. Suggest that your student improve using right, left or both hands.
  8. Read a story and let your student improvise the background music
  9. Improvise using different sounds on a digital piano
  10. Watch a video of a famous artist playing and let your student “Play along” with the artist in the video. 

The sooner you start beginning piano improvisation activities with your students the more comfortable they will be. Improvisation helps students to feel confident and creative. Most people associate musical improvisation with Jazz. This is because Jazz relies heavily on improvisation. But any style of music can be improvised.

Improvisation has many benefits, it helps students to feel comfortable at the keyboard. Being able to improvise means that if you have trouble during a performance you can keep going. It means you always have something to play.

Improvisation builds strong technique, strong aural skills, and flexibility. Improvisation leads to music composition. Improvisation is a critical part of becoming a musician.

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