Resource Roundup: Lead Sheets

Do you ever look back and realize how drastically your teaching has changed? One of the ways I see this in my own teaching is with lead sheets! I don’t remember ever being specifically taught lead sheets. The methods I grew up in didn’t make them a priority (and rarely do today’s methods). And they were often deemed best for the musician intently focused on jazz.

But somewhere along the way, I started using them as I learned guitar. They were great to use for our small church worship team, and I found that I loved the creativity of coming up with my own left hand patterns.

Today? I teach lead sheets starting as early as possible! And not just sprinkled throughout our lesson books so that there’s exposure once every 3 months. Most of my students who are late elementary level and up play lead sheets each week with their scales to warm up. And we have so much fun doing it!

So today I want to share with you the resources that I use to first teach lead sheets, and then launch them.

~ they are using creativity to make the music their own

~ they have a better understanding of how right and left hand rhythm work together

~ they are less hesitant to play various and new styles of music

~ they are more marketable as a musician later on in life

And why wouldn’t we want all of these things for our students? Here are the three steps I take when teaching lead sheets. I hope this encourages you to try something new in your studio this week!

Step 1 –

Teachpianotoday.com just launched their “launching off with lead sheet” series with a super share studio license. DON’T HESITATE! BUY IT NOW!

image from TeachPianoToday

This is 100% how I begin lead sheets with every single student. The first book focuses on left hand patterns with an easy right hand melody. Each lead sheet is given a specific left hand rhythm that accompanies it. This takes the guess work out, and gives the students a variety of left hand ideas to help them feel comfortable in the future.

The second and third books focus on right hand technique (making them perfect for warm ups!), and allows the students to get creative with their own left hand rhythms. This is when they discover that they can use more than one rhythm per song!

And then on to…

Step 2 –

Still in the teachpianotoday’s amazing catalogue … I then move my students into the Wunderkeys Pop series (I’ve mentioned these in previous posts). Here they get to apply their lead sheet knowledge by key while working on chords and inversions. Did I mention amazing?! A skill that is not often fun to practice, suddenly made exciting (really what this whole book is about!).

From here we have …

Step 3 –

Now we are into the real world. My students can choose from jazz, pop, worship, or really any style of music you can imagine to play lead sheets from. Hal Leonard has a very extensive catalog … it’s not hard to find something they like!  

Hopefully this gives you a vision for teaching lead sheets that will inspire your studio. During this social distancing season, these could be just what your studio needs to inspire some fun and creativity!

Do you teach lead sheets in your studio? What are some of the resources you use with your students to make this skill attainable? I would love to hear from you!

One thought on “Resource Roundup: Lead Sheets

  1. Pingback: Adaptive Piano Lessons Domain: Cognitive – Piano Possibilities

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