iReal Pro with Bradley Sowash and Leila Viss

TGIF!! Today I thought I’d share 3 things: 1) some cool videos of our Circle of 5ths warm-up, 2) how excited I am about attending a webinar by Bradley Sowash and Leila Viss and 3) a free PDF you can print out for your students!

Item 1: Warm-ups have been really fun this spring.

As you might have gathered from some earlier posts (here and here), right now my students are working on a warm-up that plays around the entire Circle of 5ths. The best part of this warm-up is that it doesn’t have to sound the same each week. Check out these two videos to see what I mean:

“Medium Swing” backing track with swinging 8ths:

“Smooth Rock” backing track with straight 8ths:

Even though Graycee and Ava are essentially playing the same warm-ups, we’re able to give them a totally different sound and feel just by switching up our backing tracks and changing our rhythm pattern. Here are a few other ways we’ve changed up this exercise:

  • Change the tempo
  • Add accents on certain beats
  • Use staccato articulations
  • Dynamic changes (example: cresc. up and dim. down)

Item 2: I’m psyched about attending Groove Your Theory.

I’ve just started to scratch the surface of the iReal Pro app. The more I read about this tool, the more I realize how much more fun my students and I are going to have once I really learn how to use it! That’s why I’ve decided to attend the Groove Your Theory Webinar on April 22nd with Bradley Sowash and Leila Viss.

About the Webinar I’m Attending:

Groove Your Theory stems from Bradley Sowash’s regular use of backing tracks in his lessons. He designs unique exercises for his students to build their technique and improvisation which in turn, builds theory knowledge all within a groove. Bradley and Leila’s webinar will be packed full of ideas that will build skills at the keys and save lesson time as you compress theory, timing and technique into one activity. 


Click the image above to see a short video with Bradley Sowash as he introduces a few of the concepts he and Leila will be covering during their webinar. Keep in mind: if you can’t attend LIVE, you’ll be able to watch the webinar for a full month after that.

Bonus for my Upbeat Group Lesson TeachersLeila Viss told me that the exercises and tips in this webinar will be perfect for private or group settings! I’m sure that we’ll be talking about in our Upbeat Piano Teacher FB group after April 22nd 😉

I’m ready for some fresh ideas to use with my intermediate students in my upcoming Pop Showcase Summer Workshop, and I’m positive that I’ll find the inspiration and knowledge I need from Bradley and Leila. My students are going to be in for a real treat after I attend this event!

Item 3: Free Circle of 5ths PDF

Interested in incorporating the Circle of 5ths exercise into your studio? I’ve got an easy-to-use PDF to quickly teach students how to play around the Circle of 5ths. Since it’s a visual chart, it gives you a great opportunity to review (or introduce) half-steps and whole-steps and the pattern of R-W-W-H-W (Root-Whole-Whole-Half-Whole) found in a pentascale. You can download this chart for free by clicking on the image below.


Printing Tip: SAVE the file to your desktop before you print. Open it with your favorite PDF reader program, and THEN print. This will ensure that all fine lines print correctly.

I hope all my teacher friends out there have a wonderful Easter Break!

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