Free Improvisation Downloads

Free Improvisation Downloads

All the PDFs below are Free and provided as a service. Click the link and download!

Check out Dr. Stevens’ piano and instrumental compositions at Sheet Music Plus!

The downloads listed here are mainly for the purpose of helping the church pianist develop different skills of improvisation. These may also aid the young composer in expanding his/her creative abilities. All of these links are downloads that are free for personal use. I will be adding a lot of material to this in the near future, so please check back.

Please check out my New Piano Books/CDS including my latest works including “Winter Serenade… Come Home,” “Romanza of the Heart,” and “Like a Dream Flying By.” All the PDFs are FREE, however, if you find these useful consider purchasing some of my recent music which will help to cover the cost of providing the materials below. Thanks!

Here is a picture from my Keyboard Workshop at the Church Music Explosion 2008 in Seoul, Korea which was sponsored by Sunmin Music.

I’ve also led workshops for LifeWay at Glorieta, NM and Ridgecrest, NC, the Southern Baptist State Conventions of Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Kentucky, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and many states annually at the National Free Will Baptist Convention. Love teaching improvisation!!

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Contemporary Chord Patterns

This is a new PDF I used in a workshop in Ft. Worth, TX to show another example of how to use accompaniment patterns on the piano for contemporary songs or for playing older hymns in a more contemporary fashion. I show 26 ways to play the same 3 chords. The very last example might be the most freeing of all of them. Good luck!!

Modulate to Any Key (4/5 chord)

This is a two part example where I show the 1, 4, 5 chords in every key along with the 4 chord with the 5 in the bass. The 4/5 chord is highly useful in modulating to different keys in a contemporary fashion. I then show ways to use the 4/5 chord from the key of C to every other key emphasizing common tones and the 4/5 chord to make the transition.

Adobe Acrobat Free Download
Acrobat Reader is the software that will allow you to use the PDF files below. The PDFs listed here are mostly compatible with Acrobat versions 5.0, 6.0 and above. Try upgrading your software here for free if the files will not open.
Blank Staff Paper with Ten Staves

This is a PDF file of a blank music page with ten staves. Download this for free and make as many copies as you like. This is perfect for music theory students or those wanting to try their hand at composing!


Please check out my Piano Scores for Purchase and my  “James Michael Stevens” Pandora Radio Station.

Blank Piano Staff Paper
This PDF contains two pages of blank staff paper with piano pages. The first page contains 5 sytems and has a line for a title. The 2nd page has 6 sytems. Download this and make as many copies as you like for free!
Blank Staves for Piano & Solo Vocal
This PDF contains staves for Piano & Solo Vocal. It has a solo line with treble clef above a grand staff for easy arranging of music for solo vocal with accompanying piano. The first page has a title line.
Piano and Choral Staves
This PDF staff paper is designed for piano and choir in closed position. There are three measures to a line and three systems to a page. This should work well for basic choral arranging.
Draw a Circle on the Circle

This is a brand resource to help understand how to use the Circle of Fifths to identify the most likely Major/Minor chords that you would look for when playing by ear.

Playing by Ear – Chords to Listen For

This is a PDF file that shows the chords to listen for when learning to play by ear. From top to bottom, this list the logical progression of Major and Minor triads that might be used. This is for the keys of C, F, and G, however, the same numbers based on the scale will work in any key once you understand the concept. Also, there is a brand new circle of fifths that I designed in June 2008.

Like a River Glorious Endings

In this example, I use “Like a River Glorious” to show numerous types of endings that can be improvised or arranged at the end of songs.

Chords for Modulation
In this excercise I talk about how to transpose by focusing on common notes and the chords in each key that lead to the I chord. There is also a chart that contains the scales and transition/dominant chords of all twelve keys.
Hymn Variations on “Like a River Glorious”
Here are some simple variation ideas for “Like a River Glorious.” This PDF file can be used as an aid to learning how to improvise on hymns.
12 Bar Blues with a Walking Bass
This PDF contains three different 12 bar blue patterns in B flat that are progressively more difficult. It shows the blues scale and offers some suggestions on working to develop skills on using a “Walking Bass.” Hope this is helpful to you!
Hymn Variations on “Coronation”
Here are some simple hymn variations for “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name.” This PDF file can be used as an aid to learning how to improvise on hymns.
Modulation to Any Key
In this excercise, I demonstrate in the key of C how to transpose to any other key. It is important to learn how to make smooth transistions in modulation. It is a challenge to do it in every key and not just the few that we are comfortable with.
How to Read a Chord Chart

This shows how to understand the chord symbols on a praise chart. I use this in the workshop I do entitled, “Chord Chemistry 101.” It starts with the most basic triads and moves to complex chords.

Basic Chords in All 12 Keys
This is a chart that lists 13 of the most basic triads, 6th and 7th chords and shows how to play it on the staff in every key.
Accompaniment Patterns for Chords
Here is a PDF where I have taken four chords of a progression and show 18 different chord patterns that can be used in an accompaniment.
Improv Etude
This is a great tool for learning how to improvise melodies and different accompaniment patterns. This exercise loops through half of the keys and will help the pianist improve his/her skills.
Mark Hayes’ Improv Notes
Mark Hayes is one of the premier arrangers of piano music today. This is a link to a page in Mark’s web-site that is dedicated to providing improvisational resources for the church pianist that deal with modulations, transistions, leadsheets, harmonizations, etc. An excellent site!
Learn Piano with Rosa
Check out Rosa’s new web-site in Hong Kong. She is doing a great job teaching improvisation and piano by ear skills to people in her part of the world. I’ve seen and used her materials and highly recommend them.
Without Love… We Have Nothing
Information about the international hit song originating in Korea, “Without Love… We Have Nothing,” written by James Michael Stevens and Joseph M. Martin.

Please check out my Play List below beginning with Somewhere in Every Heart which features all 27 songs on my new piano book, released July 2015, Relaxing & Romantic Piano, Vol. III at Sheet Music Plus.

Although these are free for personal use, they are copyrighted and permission must be obtained before including in any publication.


Please check out my latest piano books/CDs including “Like a Dream Flying By” released in June 2014.

Please check out my lastest Piano Books & CDs of original piano music.StatCounter - Free Web Tracker and Counter