Recently I received a tip from one of my piano students about a fun site with "backing tracks" in a variety of styles that provides the perfect backdrop for beginning pianists to improvise with. Although BenSound isn't specifically designed for this purpose, the repetitive themes provide a nice background for the budding composer to "play around" on scales in a variety of keys while choosing a variety of themes and moods.
1. First determine the key of the "backing track" and play a pentascale as you feel the beat.
2. Next mix up the order of notes in the scale within the pentascale to create your own melody.
3. Try to match the rhythmic style and tempo.
4. Expand the difficulty and variety of your melody by playing in different octaves or alternating hands to create a melodic conversation.
I love how playing in a variety of moods and styles is like adding a spark to ignite the fire of more creative ideas to flow for creating your own original compositions! Click here for a free printable version with student instructions and a list of the tracks that are in each key. Or for more of challenge, try out Bradley Sowash's Scaling the Chords exercise.
Key of C