All-Day Intensives for Piano Teachers


What are the Intensives?

Piano playing is quite literally a “hands on” activity. To learn its various arts requires a lot of experience at a keyboard as well as guidance from a patient person who is further down the path. The Intensives offer this experience, plus the chance to be with other music teachers in a “community of creators.”

I am currently offering four different Intensives:

One-Day Pattern Play

Two-Day Pattern Play

One-Day Chord Play

Two-Day Chord Play

One-Day Pattern Play (Improvising)

This one-day class introduces:

• how to improvise in a wide variety of musical styles (blues, classical, New Age) with an emphasis on scales from around the world (Japan, Ireland, Persia, etc.)

• how to play improvised duets with beginners (“musical conversations”) and then gently move these students gently into solo playing

• how to teach small groups to improvise at the piano

• how to teach using the Create First! series and the Pattern Play series

• how to add joy and surprises to your lessons and your life!

Two-Day Pattern Play (Improvising)

This class covers the same material as the One-Day Pattern Play Intensive, except that we also have the time to explore Pattern Play books 2-6, and to do more practice teaching. The goal is for each teacher to emerge with a diverse new repertoire of Patterns to play and teach, and the confidence to begin teaching these new Patterns immediately.

One-Day Chord Play (Arranging)

This one-day class presents a clear way to understand and artfully make arrangements with triads, 7th chords, 9th chords, and 13th chords. Teachers make arrangements of familiar melodies in various musical styles, and have a “hands on” experience with the three main techniques of arranging (styling, coloring, and substituting).

Two-Day Chord Play (Arranging)

This two-day class covers more chords and material than the one-day class, as well as other music styles.

Where are the Intensives?

Perhaps in your location. I have taught Intensives in Seattle every summer since 2005, but recently I have begun to offer them in other locations such as Portland, Oregon and Davis, California. All it takes is someone to organize it (see below).

What’s the Daily Schedule?

The classes are called Intensives because the schedule is rather intense, though we are always getting up and moving around and creating, so the day passes surprisingly quickly. Each day consists of five classes spread over eight hours. (There are three 15-minute breaks and a lunch break.)

9:30 to 11 Class # 1

11 to 11: 15 Break

11:15 to 12:30 Class # 2

12:30 to 1:30 Lunch Break

1:30 to 2:45 Class # 3

2:45 to 3 Break

3 to 4:15 Class # 4

4:15 to 4:30 Break

4:30 to 5:30 Class # 5

Class Size

Each class has just ten participants to ensure a lot of individual attention. If a participant must cancel at the last minute, it is that person’s responsibility to find a replacement. I can keep the tuition relatively inexpensive because I count on all ten people showing up.


In a class of ten people, tuition is just $75 for the 8-hour day. If I must fly or travel far to the location, the tuition will be bumped up a bit to help me cover that expense. Recently, I have begun staying at a participant’s home to eliminate hotel and rental car expenses, so my only expense has been the drive or the flight.

When Are The Intensives Offered?

I usually give the Intensives on weekends—Saturday and Sunday—in any month except February and from August 15 to September 15. In the summer, I also give them on weekdays.

If I am coming for just two days, you can choose whether you want a One-Day Pattern Play Intensive and a One-Day Chord Play Intensive, or perhaps a Two-Day Pattern Play Intensive.

I prefer to give the Pattern Play Intensive before the Chord Play Intensive. The PP Intensives are more creative and fun, while the CP Intensives require more brain work and practicing.

I can do both of the Two-Day courses back to back over four or five days.

My Requirements

For the Pattern Play Intensives, all I really need is one good piano and enough space to comfortably seat ten people around that piano. Though it is nice to have other keyboards available, that is not necessary.

For the Chord Play Intensives, each participant needs to sit at a keyboard of their own and have headphones. This means we need a space such as a Harmony Road Studio, a music store, or a class piano room at a college. Usually, teachers need to bring their own headphones. If the organizer must pay a rental fee for a space with keyboards, this fee will be split among the participants and added to the tuition to reimburse the organizer.

For Intensives outside of Seattle, I ask that someone organizes the event. The organizer makes the arrangements for the space, sends out emails to teachers, and also collect the tuition from each participant. The organizer should also ask someone to plan who brings the snacks and coffee for the breaks.

Who Can Participate?

The Pattern Play Intensives are geared toward piano teachers who want to expand their abilities both as players and teachers. High-school piano students who plan to teach are also encouraged to come.

The Chord Play Intensives are open to teachers and piano students (teenage and above) who at least are knowledgeable about triads.

Other Questions?

Please send me an email!