MTNA Conference; Tuesday, March 23, 2015: Creative Chords

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Bradley Sowash’s showcase was one of the most entertaining showcases I think I have ever attended. The pictures below will give you a taste of that entertainment.

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Bradley Sowash has a brand new book that was featured at this years MTNA Conference, Creative Chords.

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 12.12.31 PMBradley says “Our goal as teachers ought to be comprehensive musicianship. Both eye and ear skills are essential.”

And then asks the question, why have the eye/ear approaches remain separated? Answer: Pride and Prejudice. Each camp (eye and ear) is secretly jealous of each other.

In this showcase, Bradley teaches us the steps to teaching “off page” creativity

S-C-A-T

*Specify

*Compliment (the ember of creativity is important, easy to squash it out)

*Ask Questions (I noticed… are there?….)

*Turn them loose

The Creative Chords book balances both the eye and ear. Students can learn familiar tunes reading and by ear. They can personalize melodies and improvise variations. They can interpret pop/jazz chord symbols, apply stock accompaniments in a variety of styes and use music theory to enable their creative ideas.

The Creative Chords book is unlike anything I have seen out there. It has a look and feel where it can be easily used as a main method book, but opens itself up to use along with your main method. It  begins at a mid-late elementary level. Students should have some basic music theory knowledge when beginning Creative Chords.

In the book students will find:

  • PLAY Steps when learning a piece. Prepare, Learn, Add, Your Way
  • Work Out- Technical Exercises
  • Creative Concept- Creativity with the technical exercise.
  • Extra Challenge- An added challenge to the technical exercise.
  • Theory Tools

Along the way there are little tips and fun little characters (including a cartoon version of Bradley!) scattered throughout.

Broken up into 5 units students will learn about:

  • Sweet Harmony
  • Transposing
  • Scaling the Chords
  • Accompanying
  • Encore- Applying it all.

Creative Chords is an IPS- Interactive Practice Studio book. Which means, inside the back of each book there is a special code to download backing tracks, video lessons and other documents and files such as worksheets, musical examples, etc. Creative Chord is published by Kjos and is available at your favorite music retailer. You can find a little more information on the book at the Kjos website here.

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