By Dr. Julie Knerr

This past week I had two young students play the Improvisation Piece “Thunderstorm Over the Prairie” found in Piano Safari Level 1.

They both came up with great, but extremely different, improvisations.

Thunderstorm Number 1

The student below is 6, almost 7, and she recently started studying with me as a transfer student. She had not done any improvisation before, so was a bit hesitant to create music for the beautiful art she colored at home:

But as you will see from the video, by the end of the piece, she was starting to understand that she can create sounds at the piano to create a great sounding piece.

Thunderstorm Number 2

The second student is 6 years old. She has studied violin for several years and started piano in October. She is extremely musical and loves create her own compositions and write them on staff paper with the help of her musician mom. When it comes to improvisation, she throws herself into it headlong.

She loves playing “Thunderstorm Over the Prairie” so much that she insists we play it at every lesson on black keys, white keys, and black and white keys! It definitely sounds like the wild thunderstorms I was used to when I lived in Oklahoma! Here is her version on black keys.

These two girls are so different, and yet they are both wonderful piano students. They are also in the same class at school, and when they come to piano studio class, they are so excited to hug each other!

Please share your own videos of Thunderstorm Over the Prairie on our Facebook group for teachers, Teaching Piano Safari. We would love to see other performances!