Free Celtic Improv for Piano

Free Celtic Improv for Piano

Do you remember the music that first inspired you to learn music by ear? Twenty years ago, back when I was still a young teen, I was obsessed with Celtic music. 

I spent hours at the piano figuring out the melodies to the pieces from one of my favorite albums, Celtic Destiny by Bruce Mitchell. The process of trial and error was time-consuming, but when I was able to play my favorite tunes… the effort was well spent. 

Nowadays I’ve started passing on my love of Celtic music to my students. And because I’m still excited about this music, it’s no surprise that Celtic inspired improvs are a big hit in my studio. (Excitement is contagious, after all.) 

I recently put together a Celtic improv worksheet for my students, and now I’m offering it to you!

Free Celtic Improvisation Exercise 

This free download includes 3 pages with detailed instructions that will guide you through a simple Celtic improvisation. Here’s a run down of the improv details: 

  • 6/8 time 
  • Simple Celtic-inspired chord progression
  • 6 different patterns for the LH
  • Suggestions for RH melodies 
  • Specific rhythmic ideas

There’s plenty of room for customization in this exercise, and I’ve even included some staff paper where you can write down your own ideas. 

Teachers, be sure to check out my FB Live video about this resource! In the video, I guide you through how I break things down for Beginner, Elementary, and Intermediate students.

To download this free exercise, subscribe to my blog by entering your information below. You’ll receive a confirmation email with a “human filter” and then you’ll be taken directly to the download. 

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Live Masterclass 

Interested in knowing more about how I use this exercise?  Here’s a little live masterclass I did on Upbeat Piano Teachers. In it I explain how to break down this worksheet for 3 different levels: Beginner, Elementary, and Intermediate. 


Oh… and by the way: 

That Bruce Mitchell album I mentioned at the beginning of this post? I still have it. And it’s still one of my favorites. Here’s a piece from that collection that happens to be in 6/8. Maybe you’ll find some inspiration here for your own improvisation! 


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  • by Sharlene Cady Posted October 11, 2017 5:00 pm

    I love the ideas for improvisation and the Celtic post you created. I have a gifted student who loves to create and this week he had company with the holiday & was unable to practice at all. How perfect this Blog is for his lesson today and for future other opportunities with improv. Thanks, Sara.

    • by Sara Campbell Posted October 11, 2017 5:21 pm

      Hi Sharlene! I’ve got a couple of students just like that… and so it’s always nice to have something in your back pocket for those lessons when they arrive unprepared! I hope he enjoys the improv exercise! 🙂

  • by Jennifer Carroll Posted November 16, 2017 10:07 pm

    I’m EXCITED TO TRY THIS WITH MY CHILDREN who are all Irish dancers and intermediate pianists. I didn’t receive the confirmation e-mail with the link in it. Is there some way that I can get the download?

    • by Sara Campbell Posted November 17, 2017 10:53 pm

      Hi Jennifer! Sorry about the goofy thing going on with this. About 5% of the people who downloaded this had the same problem. I haven’t tracked down the issue yet. It might be a javascript thing? I’ll email it to you!

      • by Jennifer Harder Posted November 18, 2017 11:24 pm

        Could you please email it to me too? It’s not showing up in my emails.

        • by Sara Campbell Posted November 19, 2017 5:12 pm

          You got it!

  • by Samantha Kember Posted November 19, 2017 8:04 am

    Everything I type on your page is turning into capitals, no idea why, as my device is showing it written normally. When I try to enter my email to receive the Celtic improv handout, and enter my email and name, it therefore won’t except my request. Is there any way you can send me the link to me please? Many thanks. Samantha

    • by Sara Campbell Posted November 19, 2017 5:12 pm

      Sure thing!

  • by Samantha Kember Posted November 19, 2017 8:10 am

    That’s weird, even though everything looked like it was in capitals, it posted normally.

    • by Sara Campbell Posted November 19, 2017 5:11 pm

      Hi Samantha — Yes! I’ve noticed this. Haven’t tracked down the theme setting to change this just yet. Hopefully soon! It’s confusing to type comments when it comes up as all capitals.

  • by Ang Posted November 26, 2017 6:58 pm

    Been Trying to Get this but Not managing 🙁 loads fantastic!!

    • by Sara Campbell Posted November 27, 2017 5:46 pm

      Hi Angela! Sorry you’re having trouble with the form. Seems to be a common issue with hotmail accounts. I’ll email it to you!

  • by Noreen Bales Posted January 2, 2019 4:17 pm

    Celtic. I enjoyed your expiation in this podcast.

    • by Sara Campbell Posted January 5, 2019 1:53 pm

      Thanks Noreen!

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