About Forrest


Forrest Kinney is an educator who has taught music for over four decades. He is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music (NCTM) as recognized by the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA). His goal is to help others become creative, whole musicians capable of enjoying the Four Arts of Music: improvising, arranging, composing, and interpreting.

MTNA Certified Teacher

Forrest is the author of 42 books and collections of musical compositions. This includes the original Pattern Play series on musical improvisation, the newer Pattern Play series published by the Royal Conservatory of Music, and the newest Pattern Play-based series called Create First! He has also written two series on arranging: the new Puzzle Play series and the Chord Play series published by the Royal Conservatory of Music. His book Creativity—Beyond Compare explores common misconceptions about creativity and artistic practice. Music-Creativity-Joy is a collection of 105 essays and articles about teaching the Four Arts of Music. A recent book is the Quick Chord Course, an introduction to playing the 32 most popular chords. His latest book is Creative Life, a collection of essays and 320 practices that invite creativity into daily life.

Forrest gives teaching demo at MTAC 2015

Forrest gives teaching demo at MTAC 2015

Forrest is frequently a presenter at conferences and public events. He has given hundreds of presentations (speeches, workshops, master classes, concerts, teaching demonstrations, etc.) for music educators in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. He has been the Conference Clinician, Conference Artist, or Guest Artist at eighteen state and national music teacher conferences. This includes six straight years (2012-2017) as a Guest Artist at the Music Teachers Association of California conference. In 2015, he gave five presentations at the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, including a Teaching Demonstration of the Four Arts. Though he usually speaks about The Four Arts, his topics have included performance anxiety, piano technique, songwriting, the history of music, and creative practicing.

Forrest, 2016

Forrest, 2016

Forrest is a pianist and performer. He has given many solo and collaborative concerts in the past few decades, many with vocalist Kevin Helppie, his collaborator on the World Songs project, and Andrea Rackl, his duet partner. At his engagements, he often begins by spontaneously composing pieces for audience members based on notes or themes given him. He also frequently improvises with audience members, some who have never played the piano before. Forrest played for the 28th time at the home of Bill and Melinda Gates in December, 2018. He has also performed at many events hosted by the Seattle Symphony including the gala dinner at the opening of Benaroya Hall.

Forrest is a professional arranger. His arrangements for a variety of instruments are included in over 40 publications by the Royal Conservatory of Music.


Forrest is a composer who has composed hundreds of piano pieces and songs. He is the co-composer with Dr. Kevin Helppie of World Songs, two collections of 35 original art songs based on ancient poetry from around the world, Drops of Silver, a song cycle, and Bridges to Artistry, a collection of 26 songs that are etudes.

Forrest has written numerous articles for such publications as Clavier Companion, American Music Teacher, and Music Matters. He was a columnist for American Music Teacher.


Forrest was awarded a U.S. Patent for inventing a new kind of computer key system that allows us to type all the letters of a word at once, just like playing chords on a piano.

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Forrest lives amongst mossy trees in the mountains east of Seattle, generally preferring what he calls “a 19th-century lifestyle.” He is immensely grateful to be able to make his living by creating music and books, and by sharing his belief that creativity is a key to happiness.