This week, Vivienne delivered a very confident performance of Group II of A Dozen a Day! This week, we will be starting on Group III!
Warm Up: Deep Breathing and Rolling. Rolling uses some tricky fingerings. Vivienne was getting the hang of it during the lesson, but remind her to pay close attention to the fingerings and which notes she should play with them. Please print the PDF below with these exercises.
Haunted Mouse: Vivienne did some great work on this during her lesson. She was very enthusiastic in learning the last two lines of the piece. This week, I want her to practice those last two lines hands separately and together. She should try to play the whole piece all the way through 1-3 times a day.
She also showed interest in playing “Land of the Silver Birch,” which is located in a Music Together book with the chord symbols. If she still has the book, she can bring it in and we can start learning about chord symbols and how to play them!
We will also start looking at The Haunted Harp, which I’ve scanned into a document here. Vivienne should take a look at the first line of the piece for next week’s lesson.
I suggest Vivienne practice for 10-15 minutes a day. It’s very important to establish a routine, and in practicing repetition is very important! The more she repeats things, the more comfortable she will feel with them!
This week, Chloe and I reviewed “Old Pig Donald,” which was last week’s assignment. With some encouragement, she played through it with me!
We also clapped some rhythms. Chloe has learned about the whole note and the half note. The whole note is worth four beats, and the half note is worth two. There are some practice rhythms in her book you can ask her to clap on page 57. We also clapped rhythms that also featured quarter, half, and whole notes from one of my books.
In the lesson, we also took a look at this week’s assignment Shepherd Count Your Sheep on page 60-61. The goal is for Chloe to play through the piece all by herself! In practicing, repetition is key! The more she repeats the song, the more confident she will be in it and the easier it will become for her.
- I suggest Chloe practice for 5-10 minutes a day.
- Adult supervision will greatly help Chloe as she practices. She is very new to piano and may need help reading the fingerings and playing the keyboard at the same time.
- Feel free to sing along to the song as she plays, or read out the fingerings as she goes along.
- Ask Chloe which hand the piece begins on! If she hesitates over a part of the song, ask her which hand she should use to play that part of the song. Then ask her which finger plays the note (and which note that is on the keyboard). There is a diagram on the song’s page to help show which fingers should play on which keys!
Warm Up: Please print the page by following the link down below. I want Chantal to take a look at the three exercises on this page. We took a look at them during her lesson.
This week, I want Chantal to review Bugle Boys! It’s important she continue to count out loud, especially since the piece features a lot of tied notes! A tie is when two notes that are the same are connected with a curved line. That means, Chantal should hold the note for the whole duration of both notes combined (ex: two whole notes tied together should be held for 8 beats).
Some tips and things to ask Chantal as she practices
- Ask Chantal what hand the piece starts with, then ask her what notes she should play in that first bar.
- Chantal should always keep both hands on the keyboard, ready to play. Even if one hand doesn’t play for the rest of the piece, her hand should still be on the keyboard!
- As she’s playing, her fingers should be curved and resting on the keys, even if they aren’t playing any notes. Many new students have a tendency to leave the fingers up in the air when they’re not hitting notes, but it’s important to keep everything close by so that the performance is smooth and even.
This is the last song in her book, so if she has the next book in the series, I’d like her to bring it to her next lesson. If not, we can learn some songs from my RCM book.
Warm Up: Double thirds, legato and staccato. Play the staccato articulation slower and with strong fingers! While the legato double thirds are easy to
A major triad – solid and broken
A dominant 7th – solid and broken.
Hakuna Matata – with playing the rolled chords, think of it like an arpeggio. You don’t have to keep your fingers glued to the keys as you play them! Relax and let your hand move with your fingers.
Start looking at page 6. Start by learning hands separately and counting out loud. While the left hand isn’t challenging, don’t try to put both hands together until the right hand is totally solid. The right hand has a lot of tricky little rhythms and you want to be sure you’re 100% sure about them before adding in another thing to think about.
Dragonfly Scherzo – Practice this slowly! Don’t rush the notes! If there’s any bar you make a mistake, stop playing and work on that bar. Try playing through that bar at least three times before moving on to the next part of the piece!
Even when playing slowly and with strong fingers, play the dynamics. Train your fingers in every aspect of the music!
Sunset in Rio – Great job this week! Let’s work on making the dynamic contrast even bigger! Make the pianos softer. If you need to, repeat a section until the goal dynamic is reached.
For crescendo, try to visualize walking up a hill, or up a staircase. The visual aid may help you express it musically!
Keep playing with strong fingers!
Interval recognition – just a reminder, the major 6th song I suggest to remember the sound of the interval is “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean” which you can listen to below!
This week, our focus was on Zoe’s fingers and wrists!
Warm Up: A Dozen a Day, group II, exercises 6-8. Zoe was really enthusiastic about these exercises, and showed interest in learning more this week. She is definitely encouraged to try more exercises in group II if she wants!
This week, I want Zoe to review “Hide and Seek” and really focus on her hand position. Make sure she counts the whole duration of the dotted half note (three beats!)
Her left hand may take more time to fall into the correct position. It’s a lot easier on the dominant hand (in her case, the right hand).
In the next song we looked at “Hot Chocolate Whipped Cream Day,” Zoe learned about the tie! The tie is when the same note is connected with a curved line, typically over a bar line. This means Zoe should hold the note for the duration of both tied notes combined (ex: two tied half notes would mean holding for four bars in total). Counting is really important for this piece!
What should the hand position look like?
- The fingers should be curved and resting on the keys, even if they aren’t playing any notes. Many new students have a tendency to leave the fingers up in the air when they’re not hitting notes, but it’s important to keep everything close by so that the performance is smooth and even.
- The wrist needs to be elevated. One way to think about it is to imagine the wrist is a tunnel, and the other hand is a train trying to pass underneath. If the hand can glide along the edge of the piano and under the wrist, it’s the right height!