Saturday, June 25, 2022

Free Piano Improvisation Printable: Who Can Sail Without Wind?

If your piano lessons are focused on just reading music from the method books, improvisation can feel a bit scary. Some students are so stuck to the printed page they are scared to make mistakes.

This is similar to reading a speech from a script. But with a little guidance, exploring improvisation can be much more exciting than a speech read just like hearing a speech given from the heart can be more engaging than a recited speech from memory.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Review of "I Want to do What Jesus Taught" by Jerald Simon

"I Want to Do What Jesus Taught" by Jerald Simon

I was first introduced to Jerald Simon's music over ten years ago when I reviewed his "Cool Songs for Cools Kids" books.   This energetic series has a lot of appeal for the teens and boys in my studio because of the video game, new age and fast-paced songs with repeating patterns. 

He recently released a book of Christian primary songs, "I Want to do What Jesus Taught".  This is definitely a different genre and style compared to the "Cool Songs" series.  

I love that the central theme of the song lyrics focuses on basic Christian principles and values of prayer, kindness, and reliance on God and family. 

 It includes a good mix of slower calm songs and more upbeat energetic styles.  Some songs are very short with just one or two lines that children could learn to sing easily in just a few minutes.  Most songs are about 1 page in length with a single verse although a few include multiple pages and verses.

 The melodies are easy to sing and I like that he chose lyrics that are understandable to children without complicated vocabulary words that would need explanations. 

What pianist level is the book suitable for?

The difficulty level of the accompaniment of the majority of the songs is intermediate level.  As a piano teacher, I like the wide variety of left-hand patterns found in the music including alberti bass, 2 8va arpeggios with finger crossings, 7th chords,  and some simple intervals or chords.  

Some of the large leaps and finger crossings may be more difficult for students with small hands to play, but I love that chord symbols are included in the music so accompaniments could be adapted if needed.  The songs could also be played as lead sheets for additional chord variation practice. 

There are a few songs limited to 5 finger position that a late elementary piano student could play, and others that are more advanced with 7 sharps or 4 flats that typical piano students wouldn't encounter until at an advanced level in method books.

If you are interested in learning more about how to improvise or compose using a variety of left hand patterns, check out this free YouTube video of Jerald's workshop "100 Left Hand Patterns Every Piano Player Should Know."  

It definitely inspired me to want to experiment more with arranging!

Jerald Simon is the founder of Music Motivation® and focuses on helping piano students and piano teachers learn music theory, improvisation, and composition. He refers to these areas as: Theory Therapy, Innovative Improvisation, and Creative Composition. Simon is an author and composer and has written 28 music books featuring almost 300 original compositions, 14 albums, three motivational poetry books featuring over 400 original poems (, and is the creator of the best-selling Cool Songs Series (, the best-selling Essential Piano Exercises Series ( and Essential Piano Lessons for piano students ( and also Essential Piano Teachers for piano teachers ( You can watch Jerald’s videos on his YouTube channel at this link: Listen to Jerald’s music on all streaming sites and his podcast, Music, Motivation, and More – The Positivity Podcast with Jerald Simon on all podcast platforms.