For some years I’ve been teaching jazz piano, harpsichord, figured bass and improvisation to keyboard players at Latymer Upper School, London and The Purcell School, Hertfordshire, where I’ve also co-run a baroque ensemble.
I’ve also been invited as guest lecturer at Goldsmith’s University, London and Trinity Laban, London, Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, and to give classes at the Royal Academy of Music, London (junior dept), among others.
Over the last eight years I have run courses in improvisation for advanced young pianists on:
Tonal improvisation and music for ballet
Introduction to cadences and basic chord sequences to produce music in 8, 16, 32 bar phrases. The output was to play for a ballet class, using movement as inspiration (see article here).
Everything from a study of extant preludes by Louis Couperin and Handel through to freely improvised and gestural-modernism examples.
Figured bass in practice
Using Handel’s continuo exercises to promote proficiency in figured bass accompaniment.
Recently revived rule-based study of harmony and improvisation from 18th-century Italy. A complete tool-kit for the historically inclined composer/improviser.
Galant Style Schemata
Following Robert Gjerdingen’s detective work, creating 18th century style improvised movements using the formulae and language of musicians of the time.
Modal improvisation and music for contemporary dance
Developing the ideas from the tonal improvisation course to broaden language and rhythmic concepts.
Music for silent film
a fun and free-wheeling approach to mood-based improvisation, allowing the players’ imagination as guide. The final day of the course featured special guest John Sweeney.
Introduction to classical cadenza and lead-ins
A look at Mozart’s language and gesture to equip the concert pianist for that most elusive of improvisational challenges.
Other specialisms include:
Overview of ‘popular’ piano music from North and South America: choro, tango, danzón, ragtime, boogie-woogie.
Baroque embellishment for all instrumentalists and singers.
Group improvisations on a ground, and
(more advanced) improvised polyphony, 15th-century style.