Create First!

How it Works


This series works best when a piano student plays each piece as a DUET with a teacher first, then plays SOLO. So, there is both a duet version and a solo version of each piece. Every piece is demonstrated in a VIDEO and also notated in a book.


Each Duet video shows a teacher giving directions to a student and then the two of them playing together. As an example, here is the link for For the Joy, the first piece that explores playing with a beat.



In the Duet books, every piece has a Top part and a Bottom part. (Click below to see the score of For the Joy.) The Top part shows the group of notes that the student plays with and suggests some starting rhythms. Usually the teacher will read this section and just tell the student what to do. The Bottom part shows the Pattern (P), a short accompaniment pattern, and a Vacation (V), a contrasting pattern. The Bottom person moves back and forth between the Pattern and Vacation many times, varying them on the repeats.

Create First! DUET 1.4 For the Joy


When the student is able to play solo (play hands together), the teacher helps the student learn to play the accompaniment in the Solo Book and add improvised melodies. Then, when at home, the student can be guided by the Solo Video, the Solo Book, or both.



Each Solo Video begins with a sample solo improvisation followed by a precise explanation of how to play both the Pattern and Vacation. In this way, even a student who does not yet read music can still play a piece and be guided at home. Click on this link for the solo version of For the Joy.



The Solo Books are designed for students who can read music at an elementary level (Prep A or B in the RCM system) or above. Each piece has a Pattern, a Vacation, and a section labeled C (Create) that is filled with suggestions and ways to explore. As an example, here is the page for For the Joy.

Create First! SOLO 1.4 For the Joy NEW



Here are the videos and scores to a later piece in Level One called Cool. This piece introduces the A blues scale.


DUET BOOK: Create First! DUET 1.28 Cool


SOLO BOOK: Create First! SOLO 1.28 Cool



If you would like to learn more about the Duet-to-Solo approach used in the Create First! series and the Pattern Play series, please watch this video.


Enjoy creating!