Composition & Improvisation Prompts for Piano eBook

Prompts for Piano” is an e-book designed to provide an easy way for teachers to guide beginner and elementary students through composition or improvisation.

One of the first challenges of starting a composition is getting inspired.  Simply telling a student to compose a piece is too broad of an assignment that often causes the student to become overwhelmed.

The other challenge to helping students with composition is helping them learn how to make music that sounds like the topic they have chosen.

“Prompts for Piano” is designed to provide solutions for those two challenges.  Each of the 20 prompts provides a topic idea accompanied by a brief written description and an image, intended to help inspire the student and generate enthusiasm for the project.

The “goals” listed on the prompt are intended to help the student successfully create a piece that will sound like the topic they have chosen.  For example, for a piece about rain, students might be encouraged to use staccato sounds.

At the end of the PDF, there are a few pages of staff paper included to print for your students.

Find out how you can download a FREE sample prompt by reading this post.

To begin a composition assignment with a piano student, I allow the student to choose one of the prompts.  I keep printed copies of the prompts near my piano, but I also have the PDF loaded onto my iPad Mini so I can print directly from there (I use the GoodNotes app for this).  Students are usually very excited about the topic they choose, which leads nicely to a discussion about how we can go about creating music that will emulate that subject.

Over the course of the next few weeks/months, the student slowly adds new measures and properly notates their composition onto staff paper.  When it is finished, I transcribe their composition into Finale and ask them to illustrate their composition.  You can read more about how I go about composing with my piano students here.

Mack T - The Dinosaur 2

On the right is an example of a composition created by one of my students.

Have you ever thought about doing a summer composition project, or holding a composition recital with your students?  Using these prompts can help make sure that your students choose varied topics during a studio-wide composition project.

The Terms of Use for this PDF allow the purchaser to print as many copies from this PDF as desired, forever – as long as you are using them with your own students.

After purchasing this PDF, you will immediately receive an email containing the download link.  Your computer will automatically put the PDF in your computer’s “Downloads” folder.  Please move the file to a memorable place on your hard drive so you can access it for years to come.  If you have any trouble downloading your file, please contact me.


“My students and I have been using this set of prompts with amazing success this summer. I love the goals and the prompts. I have three students who have already completed their first composition and they are over the moon with excitement at what they have accomplished. I never imagined I would be able to guide them through this process so easily.” — Heather Best, piano teacher

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