Five-Day Workshops in Vienna

Composition • Rhythm • Movement • Improvisation


Compose music? Where do I start? 

The most challenging step for novice composers is knowing where to start and where to take inspiration from. This workshop will take students through various improvisational drills and dialogues to get them thinking about just what kind of piece they might like to write. 

Whereas at advanced levels your teachers might encourage you to write what you hear, at earlier stages some constructive 'messing around' at the keyboard will encourage you to listen for new sounds and generate your own ideas.

Over the five days of the course, faculty will guide you through developing these ideas into your own composition for piano. You will learn skills including: finding inspiration; generating and developing melodies, harmonies, and rhythms; structuring your ideas into a form; editing and polishing your music, including using software. There is no expectation for any specific kind of composition - it's a wide open field! You will have fun and be amazed listening to your own project unfold and those of others!

Already a composer? Our faculty will provide optional challenge exercises and tips so that you can take your writing to the next level. 

You will walk away from this course with a complete piece and you may choose to feature it in the end-of-week performance.

These sessions will be at 10:00 am each morning. As with any creative endeavor there may be overlap, jumping ahead, and retracing of steps in each session, but this provides a general structure for what will be introduced.

Monday - Improvisation with movement patterns

Tuesday - Improvisation with intervals (building on movement patterns)

Wednesday - Transitioning to composition: pitfalls and strategies

Thursday - Working with forms: when is the piece finished?

Friday - Showcasing our work, final questions and new ideas

Rhythmic Explorations

This workshop provides students with more opportunity to develop important rhythm and ensemble skills. Activities will include: learning challenging rhythmic patterns from diverse musical cultures, listening to and perusing piano pieces that utilize these rhythms, and trying our hands at composing/improvising in these rhythmic modes. 

Experiencing More Freedom and Ease at the Piano   

Most students will agree that playing the piano is one of the most complex activities they do any given day. This kind of activity deserves rigorous, detailed training of movement so that students can improve skills, play with more ease, and enhance their own musicality. 

Each day of the course at 11:00 am Kathryn Woodard will lead students in a series of activities to heighten their awareness of movement at the piano. She will address common misconceptions of piano technique that limit a student's progress and musicality. She will also relate sensory training to her own creative process at the piano and describe how she works with students in the beginning stages of improvising and composing.

Monday - Finding a sitting stance, understanding core support

Tuesday - Mapping and using the whole arm

Wednesday - Identifying further mapping issues specific to each participant

Thursday - Applying these lessons to practice: retraining attention for practice and performance

Friday - Showcasing our work, resources for further study