Lead Sheet Challenge - PDF

Lead Sheet Challenge - PDF


Leveled lead sheets and ready-made festival rolled into one!

Students to learn and demonstrate practical skills used by professional gigging pianists. Select from two sets of 10 levels of lead sheets (20 total!), each with sample stock accompaniment styles, improvisation tips, and fully-notated teacher realizations. Then, test their skills by playing both Learned and On-the-spot lead sheets in a friendly competition.

Download includes a studio license authorizing you to copy or print up to 25 copies of Lead Sheet Challenge as needed for current students taught in real time exclusively by an individual teacher. Additional teachers in multi-teacher organizations or associations are required to purchase this product individually.

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What is a lead sheet?

Simplified music notation consisting of:
1. Melody in treble clef.
2. Chord symbols.
3. Optional details such as lyrics, suggested accompaniments, etc.

Musicians “fake” the rest with:
- stock accompaniment styles
- melodic embellishments
- improvised “solos”

Professional lead sheet example.

Professional lead sheet example.

Why teach lead sheets?

  • Contemporary skill - Used in pop/rock, worship, and jazz.

  • Applied music theory -  Chords, melodic construction, phrase lengths, road map…

  • Less stress - Easier and safer than reading fully-notated scores.

  • Structured creativity - Practical springboard for improvising.

See a short description of this resource.

Watch a longer excerpt from a webinar about this resource.

How to use Lead Sheet Challenge

1. Guide your students through beginning to late intermediate lead sheets with sample stock accompaniments and improvisation tips. 

2. Compare their interpretations with fully-notated secret teacher realizations. 

3. Host a friendly "Lead Sheet Challenge," event where students play both Prepared" and At Sight lead sheets before a sympathetic judge.

Contents: 62 pages include:

- Detailed directions that lay it all out for you.
- Chord glossary to clear up questions about chord construction.
- 10 original leveled student learned lead sheets w/sample accompaniment styles and improvisation challenges.
- 10 fully-notated matching learned teacher realizations to check student work.
- 10 well-known leveled student on-the-spot lead sheets w/sample accompaniment styles and improvisation challenges.
- 10 secret fully-notated matching on-the-spot teacher realizations to check student work.
- Evaluator’s rubric provides scoring guidelines for a festival.
- Evaluation sheet to tabulate scores and make comments.

Prepared lead sheet titles

Level - Title
0 - Skips and Steps
1  - Skipping Up and Down
2  - Stuck in My Ear
3  - Bawl Babies
4  - Alberti Know-How
5  - Twirling
6  - Wash Rag
7  - Rotten Day Blues
8  - What Piano Teachers Think
9  - Blow, Blow, the Whistle Blows
10  - Fortune Teller

At Sight lead sheet titles

0 - (No At Sight for Preparatory level)
1 - Lightly Row
2  - Skip to My Lou
3  - This Old Man
4  - Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
5  - Home on the Range
6  - The Entertainer
7  - St. Louis Blues
8  - Oh, When the Saints Go Marching In
9  - It Takes a Worried Man
10  - St. Louis Blues (tango section)

I wish to acknowledge my local chapter of Music Teachers National Association, which created an adjudicated event for harmonization in 1984, as part of its’ Scale Olympics. In 2010, the Central East District of the Ohio Music Teachers Association invited me to participate in the creation of a Lead Sheet Track, and its success has been an inspiration to write this new collection. To learn more about Scale Olympics, visit ceomta.org and click on “Student Events.”

Thanks to the 2018 participants in the 88 Creative Keys summer piano pedagogy workshop for testing out these pages and offering many helpful suggestions.