Mission and Preview

OUR MISSION - To make the joys of keyboard music more accessible for everyone who would like to play - especially for those who have difficulty learning to read and play from traditional music notation.

In carrying out this mission, we have chosen to focus on developing keyboard notation that is as easy as possible to learn and read and that is also capable of notating all of the music that you might want to play. In keeping with our belief that music notation can be a wonderful visual art form, we have made every effort to develop notation that is interesting and beautiful to look at.

Our Key Diagram notation and our Reader's Versions of traditional notation provides new opportunities for making music instruction less stressful and more effective. This has led to the development of four keyboard preparatory instructional series coordinated with graded sheet music collections. In addition to these instructional materials, we have produced several thousand pages of great musical compositions based on these reader oriented notations.
For nearly 20 years, the MUSIC INNOVATOR'S WORKSHOP has been focused on finding ways of making keyboard music easier to learn and play. We've worked closely with dozens of students in developing the materials that help them learn to play and enjoy music on the keyboard.

Dedication: This website is gratefully dedicated to my piano students, both past and present, who have been my inspiration and who have made this website and its music possible. I love you more than you will ever know! 
                                                                          Grampa John

Why Did I Develop the Workshop?

After graduating as a music major from the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music in 1954, I spent a good bit of my time experimenting with alternatives to our traditional music notation. With a good bit of effort, I developed what I thought was a pretty good piano course, using the alternatives that I had developed.

When my 5 childeren were young, I gave them all lessons on the piano, using the "excellent" piano course that I had developed. I did my best to encourage them and teach them well. But within one to two years of starting their lessons, each of them asked me to stop giving them lessons. The universal reason given was: "Learning the piano is too hard, Dad."

I don't believe that playing the piano is too hard. But, just maybe, learning to play is too hard for too many people. After that experience with my kids, I was strongly motivated to find a way to make learning to play less difficult.

I very much wanted to reduce the amount of stress many students experience while learning to play and also reduce the length of time that it takes to learn to play.

About Our Website

This site is primarily about music for the keyboard. It focuses on instruction and music for beginning and intermediate students. The instruction is designed to help students learn to play with a minimum of stress in a relatively short amount of time. This is accomplished using several unique methods of teaching and learning developed by this workshop - including learning and playing from the keyboard diagrams maps that are featured here. These key maps are sheet music that visualizes keyboard music by showing the actual locations of your fingers on the keyboard as you play - with visual timelines for the rhythm.

This site presents the practical results of our research and development activities covering a period of about 50 years.  The instructional materials and sheet music are provided on this website both for reading and downloading. If you are using a tablet, you can place it on your keyboard music stand and play directly from the tablet, thus avoiding the downloading and printing process.

Finally, the Music Innovator's Workshop is an ongoing research and development project. We are constantly learning new things to share with you, and making revisions to current materials as they are needed. The results are published on this site as they become available.

What You Will Find on This Site

You'll find innovative keyboard instructional materials and a lot of piano sheet music. This music is based on the simplified graphic notations developed by the Workshop. There is no charge for using or copying from this site. You can download and print our courses and music and share with your friends as long as you identify us as the source. In fact, we encourage you to help publicize these materials as broadly as possible. Just keep in mind that you would need our permission before you change or commercialize these downloads. All materials are protected by copyright, but are made available under our Creative Commons Attribution/Non-Commercial/No Derivatives license.  CC License

Some Tech Stuff - Our graphic notations are keyboard tablaturesTheir notes visually track the left/right movements of the fingers on the keyboard and track the rhythm on a timeline. In contrast to standard notation, the staff is vertically oriented. Melodies move vertically from the top to the bottom of the page with the notes moving to the left and right in coordination with the fingers on the keyboard. The musical staff is a contour map of the keyboard with the different octave levels (low to high pitch) distinguished by the colors of the rainbow in the background of the map. Notes on the staff are often highlighted with color coding to provide all sorts of useful information that makes them easier to read.

The units that you download generally run from 10 to 20 pages and are full of color. The materials are designed for duplex (back to back) printing in full color. (If you print key maps in black and white, they will function OK, but will lose much of their aesthetic value as a result.) Of course, if you have access to a touchpad, you can just place it on your keyboard's music rack, go to this website, and read the music without having to print it out.

Navigating This Site - The main ways for finding what you want on this site are to make use of the Directory page and the navigation tabs across the top of each page. Here is a link to more information on navigating this site: Site Help

Contact Us We'd like to hear from you. Do you have any questions? Let us know: Contact Us