This week, we struggled to learn new concepts as Rachel was very distracted. We began by doing some quick stretches and playing “Twinkle Twinkle” as a review.
We were going to review Cuckoo Clock, but Rachel could not remember how the piece worked. I began to review the concepts presented in the song, but Rachel was having a hard time focusing. I decided to move onto to the next song “Dinosaur Music Night.” In this song, they also use the concept of several notes sharing the same stem to show that all the notes needed to be played together at the same time. However, this was also a challenge to keep Rachel focused and we did not end up playing any piano.
Rachel expressed frustration in learning piano, and I suggested we try a new book next week. It’s possible that the style of this book doesn’t work for her, and maybe trying a different one with a different learning style will be helpful.
This week, we started by reviewing the Dozen a Day exercises 3 and 4. Chantal did really well with these and played with strong fingers! We then looked at exercises 5 and 6. In exercise 6, Chantal needs to tuck her thumb under her hand so that she can reach the lower C easily.
We then reviewed L’il Liza Jane. The concept of playing hands together is still a bit challenging for Chantal, so I suggested she start by playing hands separately. After playing hands separately and reviewing all the notes, she then played the whole song hands together. She found it a lot easier to do and felt more comfortable playing the song!
This week, I want Chantal to practice the Dozen a Day Group V exercises #5 and 6. I also want her to start learning “C’s Rock” in her songbook hands separately.
Chantal should be practicing for 10-15 minutes every day!
Warm-Up: Double 3rds in C and D.
Dominant 7th of F, solid and broken. Remember that the dominant 7th is a chord that starts on the 5th scale degree of your key! Don’t forget the key signature!
Minuet in E major: Review 1st section just to keep it in your memory. Continue to review the 2nd section. Start by playing it hands separately before playing hands together. Isolate any problem bars. Play them hands separately and hands together.
Start to learn the last section of the piece hands separately.
Dragonfly Scherzo: play through this three times at the slower tempo every day. Then start speeding it up a little after you’ve done this.
Ivean Polkka: Keep your wrist nice and flexible – don’t tense it up! Don’t forget to write in the dynamics.
Try to practice for 30 minutes every day!
This week, we reviewed the Dozen a Day exercises #1-6. Zoe did a great job playing with strong fingers. We then looked at Mama’s Baking Apple Pie. She did a great job with this, but I feel another week of review will help so that she feels totally confident playing with her hands together!
This week, I’d like Zoe to work on exercises #7-12 one after the other. She should always play with her strong fingers. I also want her to try and keep both hands on the keyboard while she plays, even when one hand is not playing. It will help make the transition from one hand to the other smoother.
I’d like her to review Mama’s Baking Apple Pie to practice playing hands together a bit more. I also want her to start taking a look at Wild and Windy Day!
A home Zoe can also review the phrases that help you remember the lines and spaces on the staff. To review they are:
Treble clef lines – Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge
Treble Clef spaces – spell the word FACE
Bass clef lines – Grandma Boogies Down Fifth Avenue
Bass clef spaces – All Cows Eat Grass
Zoe should practice for 10 minutes every day!
Warm-Ups: Double 3rds, legato and staccato. D major scale, 2 octaves.
Lied – Add in ornaments in the last section.
- Always keep your fingers curved while you play. Watch our for your left hand especially!
- If there’s any problem spots, review them by isolating them and playing them hands separately.
- More slow practice is needed with this one to help your brain solidify the notes. It’s coming along nicely!
Sonatina – try to practice this piece slowly with the metronome when you first take it out to practice every day. Go over the whole piece at least one with the slow speed. Then you can try to speed it up!
Start to add in the dynamics. Make the changes between loud and soft really dramatic!
Sunset in Rio – add in dynamics this week. Work especially on the decrescendo and crescendo.
- Think of them as a slope instead of a staircase.
- Don’t immediately get loud or soft as soon as you see the marking. Think of it as a gradual thing, like a colour gradient.
- Start by playing the markings hands separately to really figure out how much pressure and volume is needed in both hands by themselves. Then put them together.
You should also start by playing the measures that contain the cresc, and when you feel you have a good handle on them, try the whole phrase!
Start to think about another piece you may want to learn in your book!
Try to practice for 30 minutes every day!