When & Where

Quick Facts

  • Availability No
  • Tutor Sara Dhillon
  • Course Code W23JPMB09B
  • Suitable For 19 year olds and up are permitted on this course

What you will learn

For intermediate players (Grade 3 ABRSM or higher) with a background in jazz, classical or pop music, this fun, practical course teaches you the dynamic role of the piano in Salsa and Afro-Cuban music. We will focus on harmonic and rhythmic development, improvising, and learning common montuno patterns found in classic Salsa and Cuban styles including Son Montuno, Mambo, Bolero and Cha Cha Cha. Students will learn through a combination of theory and practical application and will gain an understanding of the fundamental techniques, rhythms, and chord progressions that define the Cuban and Salsa piano sound.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Play classic montuno patterns, learn common harmonic and rhythmic variations and understand the dynamic role of the piano in classic Salsa and Afro-Cuban music.
  • Recognise the most common Latin music styles and be able to play and distinguish key features of Salsa, Son montuno, Mambo, Cha-Cha-Cha, Bolero etc.
  • Develop a repertoire of some classic Cuban and Salsa piano pieces.
  • Have a better understanding of how to improve your music reading in this style including exercises to help you improve your sense of rhythm, an important facet of playing Latin music.
  • Solo in this style of music incorporating different harmonic and rhythmic approaches and understand the role of clave in this style.
  • Improve your sense of rhythm and timing


  • Full fee
  • Concession fee
  • Class format and activities

    Through a variety of instructional methods such as demonstration, listening exercises, and guided practice, students will gain a deeper understanding of the Cuban/Salsa piano style and how to apply it to their playing. The course will include individual and group instruction, as well as opportunities for performance and feedback. . You will be set various rhythmic and harmonic exercises to help you play in this style and will be provided with bespoke backing tracks with which to practise outside of the class. You will also listen to musical examples, do some clapping exercises to help learn the music, practise some of the new rhythms on the piano with the tutor and learn how to improvise over some simple Salsa and Afro-Cuban grooves.

    Entry requirements

    Grade 3 piano skills or similar. Please contact the Music department for clarifications

    What you need to know before you enrol

    A commitment to regular, focused practice is essential. You will be encouraged and expected to practise the material between sessions (whatever your schedule allows), so that you can progress.

    What you need

    Manuscript book and pencil, audio recording device (optional)

    What you can do next

    Join one of our ensembles including Afro-Cuban and Salsa Ensemble, Brazilian and Bossa Nova Classics Ensemble, or one of our Jazz Piano Classes.