Try to use stories or sounds that have caught the interest of the individual pupil and develop improvisations based on them.
All In a Day's Work - The inspiration for this extended improvisation was Grieg's ‘Morning'. My pupil enjoyed this melody and wanted to play it himself. The resulting programme takes between two and three minutes to play, but the work involved in achieving this took about two months, or eight half-hour lessons combined with working at home with a parent.
I taught him to play the opening melody of ‘Morning' with his right hand by rote, as he does not read music. This could also be done by using the letter names of the notes, or by reading notation. (Learning Objectives: Listening, Reading music or rote learning)
Then we talked about what comes before the morning - the quiet of night. We experimented with playing quietly, to suggest the stillness that comes before morning. Then we remembered the dawn chorus, the singing and twittering of the birds, which we created on the high notes of the piano. (Learning Objectives; Quiet playing, Creative improvisation)
General learning objectives
As well as the particular learning objectives listed, there are a number of objectives that apply to playing in general; playing with strong, agile fingers awareness and execution of dynamics access to a formal tune by means of rote learning or notation creative improvisation - developing the use of imagination in musical terms appreciation of melody and accompaniment and use of chords description of contrasting moods in pianistic terms duet and ensemble work - give and take on the keyboard in an improvisatory way the ability to work on the programme and reproduce it over a period of weeks The benefits of working in this way spill over into; language development - discussing ideas and planning concentration - remembering a fairly long programme motor co-ordination - using individual finger work in a variety of ways: fast and slow, loud and soft, balancing melody and accompaniment.