Kalil Olsen, the student I've been chronicling over the last few months on this blog, continues to blow me away with his natural musical and pianistic instincts. At almost all of our meetings, Kalil with play something for me that he has composed in the past week. Kalil's ability to synthesize so many of the concepts we have been working on into these piano improvisations is remarkable. I try to work a bit of simple piano improvisation into each of our lessons. Watch Kalil and I jam in a minor mode:
I try to integrate many "unspoken" musical concepts into our improvising. In this clip, I try to get him to respond to harmonic changes, changes in mood, and formal elements. As you can hear, he's really listening!
Composing and improvising are Kalil's favorite activities on the piano. I spoke to my piano pedagogy class the other night about the importance of making each and every moment of a piano lesson a musical and engaging experience, and they have worked hard to create this for Kalil. We occasionally get so swept up in explanation and details sacrificing sheer joy in music making. I keep Kalil hooked with weekly moments like this.