[Video Interview] Students Share How They Found Success Learning Chords and Composition

By Sean Wales | Improvising and Composing

Aug 28

Former Students on Composition

Today’s post provides you with a student perspective on learning chords and composition. Adrian and Jackson are two of Tim’s former students. They will share with you their experiences on piano composition, and why it transformed their musical education.

There are a series of videos below, touching on teaching chords, incorporating concepts and theory, improvisation and plenty more. If you would like more information on how to teach chords and composition in your lessons, please head to timtopham.com/chords. Here, you will also be able to find information on Tim’s brand new Inner Circle course, 4 Chord Composing.

Teaching Concepts through Chords

How do you continue to keep teaching technique and concepts, while encouraging your students to compose and explore with chords?

Well, chords are actually a fantastic way to teach musical concepts. Chords tie in beautifully with scales, modes and musical theory. Here’s how Tim taught his students about musical concepts through a chordal approach to music teaching.

Improvisation to Composition

All compositions start with an improvisation. So how do you take that improvisation and turn it into a coherent composition? Do you start with chords, rhythm or a melody?

Related: From Improvisation to Composition: How to Nurture Your Students’ Creativity

Chordal Approach

Learning chords and composition is a perfect way to engage your students, who may not be clicking with a traditional exam approach to learning music.

Start with the basics, before encouraging your students to write their own chord progressions, melodies and finally compositions.

It can be a daunting process if you’ve never taught chords and composition before.

If you’d like some more help, check out this blog post where you can download three free lesson plans on how to teach 4 Chord Composing: The Power of 4 Chord Composing [Online Piano Teaching Course]

Incorporating Singing into Lessons

Learning chords and composition opens up your students to the possibility of singing! Your students may be a bit nervous about this at first, but singing pop-like melodies is a great way to start exploring compositions.

Moving to Production

Finally, once your students are confident composers, how can they move this to a digital location and start producing their own pieces? Here’s how Tim’s former students have embraced technology with their own compositions.

Recommended: A Beginner’s Guide to Piano Composition in the Digital Audio Workstation

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed seeing a student’s perspective to learning chords and composition. Clearly, a chordal approach to teaching is a beneficial way to engage and excite your students.

Whatever level of ability, learning composition is a great asset to your students’ musical abilities.

How do you teach composition? Please leave your thoughts and questions in the comments section below.

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About the Author

Sean is one of Tim's former piano students, now in his third year of study at the University of Melbourne. Majoring in Italian and Media and Communications, he hopes to one day work as a journalist overseas.

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