The practice materials, listed below, are available to purchase and download instantly.

CORE MATERIALS

The core materials are listed first. These materials give you a detailed overview of the theory and practice involved, as well as some basic coaching information. The 15 Steps document is like a mini course: it sets out how to practise and build fluent keyboard skills incrementally with clear explanations, diagrams and video demonstrations. The order of these steps is not written in stone but there are clear advantages to having the skills set out and demonstrated in this sequence. The Concise Model provides deeper explanation of the principles and elements of musical language that you use to express yourself fluently. The core materials are essential for self-directed practice. Come back to them frequently!

PRACTICE MATERIALS

After you have begun by studying the core materials, and trying to practise the skills set out in the first few of the 15 steps, it is likely that you will want more involved, specific and prescribed practice materials, to work more deeply on particular areas or for greater clarity of understanding. So the practice materials provide exercises, studies and guided practices in much greater detail. You can cherry pick these practice materials as you need, at each step. Also, I occasionally add new ones.

MANY HOURS’ PRACTICE AT EACH STEP

Whilst everyone learns at different rates, each step requires many – even hundreds – of hours’ practice, with clear, calm focus and playful, expressive freedom. It’s also important to keep practising earlier steps, perhaps as a warmup, even when working on more advanced steps. If you are struggling, study the materials carefully with an open mind, letting go of all preconceptions. The ideas are simple but radical. The copy on this website is also helpful guidance, so re-read it often; and of course there are all the free videos too. Seek and ye shall find!

If you still feel lost, you can always contact me to arrange a 121 coaching session (find out more about my 121 teaching) but my availability is limited so I may not be able to fit you in at short notice. Whilst I’d love to invite you to email me with questions, I just can’t offer email coaching. The materials are already generous for the price and do not include a correspondence course. On the other hand, if you spot an error or typo, I’d be very grateful if you let me know!

UPDATES

I will update materials occasionally. You can see the version number shown below in the download title, and your links will give you lifetime access to the most up-to-date files. 

BEFORE YOU BUY ANYTHING, please read the content on this website carefully and watch some of my free videos. This is an unconventional learning approach that is not for everyone. But if you feel ready to play with simple principles and elements like a child full of expressive playfulness and intention, then I am excited to share my materials with you!

All the materials are listed below with purchase buttons. You can see the contents of your shopping cart at any time by using the cart icon in the main menu above. The menu shown below the core materials links to the practice materials for individual steps.

CORE MATERIALS

15 Steps

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This is the closest thing to a course. This download provides explanations of all the skills you need to be musically fluent on the keys, in a simple step-by-step format: a 47-page illustrated document with integrated video links at each step.

How to Study and Practise

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A short PDF document with 4 videos explaining how to approach this training. The way we practise fluent skills is very different from conventional learning, In this download, you will learn how the model forms the basis of your practice and the best way to immerse yourself in the learning.

Blockages to Fluency

v1.0

Developing fluency in the language of music can easily be blocked by habitual musical, psychological and even emotional issues. This PDF document and coaching video help you to identify and tackle the most common blockages.

Technique

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Technique is an area of piano playing that can become unnecessarily complex. This PDF document with an embedded link to a video provides a clear and simple explanation of how to employ a free and efficient physical attitude to playing fluently on the keys.

Self-assessment

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It is vitally important to assess the correct criteria as you practise. This short PDF document and video explain how practising requires a specific mindset and a clear understanding of your moment-by-moment goals.

FURTHER PRACTICE MATERIALS AT EACH STEP

Step 2 – Overcoming Speech Rhythm Habits

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Our karaoke sense of music is rhythmically very faulty. We tend to make musical rhythms into lumpy speech rhythms. These irregular rhythms are weak approximations of musical rhythms with real flow and structure. This PDF and video set out practices to help you challenge and overcome these tendencies.

Step 3 – Introduction to Keyboard Mapping

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The linear, alphabetic sense of the keyboard causes very slow processing and an unmusical approach to navigating the keys. To be fluent, we need to know instantly and effortlessly where all the sounds live in the keyboard map. This document and video introduce you to the most musical and efficient way to map the keys fluently.

STEP 4 – Sight-reading 3- and 4-Key Blocks

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The skill of reading simple rhythms fluently (step 2) must already be established, then reading shapes moving around the blocks is easy to add on. The tendency to read individual notes must be challenged and overcome. This PDF and video explain how to read tonal shapes.

STEP 5 – Use the Sustain Pedal

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Using the sustain pedal is a very useful skill. It is a way of processing harmony that helps the musical ear connect to harmonic progression. It is a tricky skill to master in the beginning. This video and PDF explain how to practise pedalling effectively.

STEP 5 – Reading the Harmonic Blocks

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Before we do any staff reading, seeing the harmonic blocks as configurations are reading tonal shapes that “walk” on them is an essential skill. This resource – PDF and video – set out how to practise giving up reading separate notes once and for all and embrace a very simple and intuitive practice of reading shapes through harmonic blocks.

STEP 6 – Mapping the 2 Butterfly Areas of the Keyboard

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To map larger areas of the keyboard, we need to think of it iterating in a nonlinear way, fully aware of its symmetric interlocking structure. The 2 butterfly areas are the first vital step in expanding your map of the keys and blocks, This practice resource – PDF and video – shows you how to approach working to develop this vital skill.

STEP 7 – Improvise on Relative-Major-Minor Blocks

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To be tonally fluent, you must understand the pattern of relationship between all the harmonic blocks. At step 7, we explore the first relationship between a major and minor block. These 12 pairs are not difficult to remember as long as you play them with authentic musical expression. This PDF and video help you practise your improvising skills on these pairs of blocks.

STEP 8 – Improvise on Pentatonic Blocks

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Pentatonic tonality is an important tonal flavour in many musical genres. The earthy pentatonic tonality is generated by using the pentatonic blocks – 12 5-key blocks that govern the way we use the harmonic blocks. This PDF sets out some simple practices to develop your sense of pentatonic tonality as you learn the simple structure of the 12 pentatonic blocks plugged into the keyboard map.

STEP 8 – 3 Extra Pentatonic Studies

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Studies that you can read and play fluently can help you find improvisation ideas. In fact when you are fluent in the language of music, you become like a sponge, absorbing ideas of music you play and hear. These 3 pentatonic studies – in PDF scores and also MP3 audio files for you to listen to – will help you deepen your sense of pentatonic tonality.

STEP 14 – Syncopation

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Syncopation is not so difficult when understood clearly in terms of rhythm cells in the matrix. This PDF provides lots of practice exercises and clearly explains how to approach this technique.

STEP 15 – Chromatic harmony

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In this PDF, there are lots of notated harmonic progressions with chromaticism of different kinds for you to practice. How to approach this practice is explained clearly so that your improvisation and reading skills will expand to include a grasp of chromatic harmony.

STEP 15 – Chromatic tonality in a jazz-blues-pop style

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Chromatic harmony is not just for complex classical or jazz styles. The exercises at Step 15 are not designed to be genre specific at all but you will notice that different tonal inflections can point towards different musical styles and genres. In this PDF, there are short, tuneful practice exercises that use chromatic tonality in a very accessible way common to many popular genres.

STEP 15 – Studies

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This PDF contains a pack of 12 studies – one for each diatonic block – that bring a particular kind of freedom in your playing style. The playing idioms used are transferable across a range of styles and they give you the opportunity to practise playing the keys in a way that has a deep expressive connection and the beginnings of real virtuosity using the rhythmic and tonal fluency that you have acquired through completing the steps.