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Essential Melodic and Harmonic Patterns for Group Piano Students

James Lyke and Geoffrey Haydon

Previous versions of Essential Melodic and Harmonic Patterns for Group Piano Students were published as First Year Piano Patterns with Rhythm Background, Vols. I and II (1973) and Early Level Piano Patterns with Instrumental Accompaniment, Vols. I and II (1989). The 1973 edition came with an LP record and the 1989 edition included two cassette tapes. The present edition includes a “play along” CD containing both audio tracks and embedded Standard MIDI Files. The tracks have been digitally recorded by co-author Dr. Geoffrey Haydon.

Essential Melodic and Harmonic Patterns for Group Piano Students is designed to assist elementary and intermediate level keyboard students in learning basic melodic and harmonic keyboard patterns.

Patterns include major and minor pentachords in all keys, scales built in tetrachords in all keys, major and minor triads in arpeggio form, and various basic chord progressions. New material added to previous editions includes blues scale patterns and the blues chord progression. The chord progression so important to jazz harmony and improvisation is also introduced to keyboard students.

Essential Melodic and Harmonic Patterns for Group Piano Students also contains jazz comping (chord accompaniment patterns) techniques and helpful suggestions regarding melodic improvisation. Such activities encourage creativity and ear development.

All melodic and harmonic patterns are completely notated for the student. However, the goal is to have students eventually internalize each pattern. Pattern assignments are left to the discretion of the teacher. The order and amount of patterns assigned to students is therefore flexible enough to efficiently serve their needs within a given curriculum. When patterns are learned and become “second nature,” students will become more secure players. They will recognize familiar melodic and harmonic shapes. Such recognition will benefit skills in sight reading, analysis, transposition, and even improvisation.

Teachers should note practice suggestions indicated for each pattern. These ideas are meant to offer alternative ways to practice such as changing articulation, dynamics, rhythm, and/or balance. Students are taught to use creative practice methods that avoid tedious repetition (i.e. rote practicing).