Reminder! The recital is Sunday, May 14! I want everyone to attend, even if they don’t want to perform in it!
Warm Up: Skipping and Jumping Rope from A Dozen a Day group III. Vivienne will need to print this page by following the link below.
In Jumping Rope, I suggest Vivienne play the first line very slowly so that when she reaches the second line, she doesn’t have to go crazy fast. Going at a slower consistent pulse also helps minimize the possibility of the fingers getting out of control and making mistakes! I suggest Vivienne count out loud by saying “one and two and…”
The Haunted Harp: Vivienne is making great progress in this piece! She just needs to make sure she holds all the half notes and dotted half notes for their full duration.
This piece is written with the left hand in the treble clef. Vivienne needs to make sure she’s always playing the notes in the bottom staff with the left hand. There were a couple moments where she played left hand parts with the right hand during the lesson. The composer wrote the division between the two to make the melodic line nice and smooth and it’s important to play the piece how they intended it to be played!
The Haunted Mouse: Vivienne is playing this with a lot of ease and confidence. I suggested she perform it at the recital, or at least think about it! It’d be really great to see her perform!
This week, we reviewed “A Jungle Wedding.” She’s still a bit shy and didn’t want to play the song by herself. That’s okay! But I’d love for her to feel more comfortable in playing things independently as she grows as a musician. While she’s practicing, you can always ask her to “perform” the song for you or a few family members. Tell her it’s all right if she makes mistakes, and make sure to clap and tell her she did a great job afterwards!
In the lesson we also played a rhythm game called Musical Groceries. To do this, we made a shopping list. Then, I clapped a consistent beat while we tried to say the items within the beats. This is something you can also try at home for a fun bonus activity, and it helps build rhythmic understanding!
This week, I want Chloe to practice “Riding the Escalator.” I suggest she make up a little story to go with the piece. It may make playing it a bit more fun for her and makes the experience of practicing more interactive.
When she’s practicing, you can always ask her to explain to you what she’s doing. Not only will it help you understand what she’s working on, it will also help her learn through teaching. Chloe should also continue to play for 5-10 minutes every day!
Warm Up: A Dozen a Day Group III, exercises 7-9. In exercise 7, there’s a different fingering than normal. The exercises asks for Chantal to tuck her thumb under her hand. We’ve practiced this during the lesson, but just make sure as she practices exercise 7, she uses her thumb when playing F. I also circled the fingering so she wouldn’t forget.
In her new piano book, Chantal has two review pages at the beginning. We looked over these during the lesson, but it would be great to review them again with Chantal throughout the week. She’s having a bit of trouble remembering the concept of time signatures.
To review: a time signature shows two things. It shows how many beats are in each measure, and what note value is equal to one beat. In a time signature, the top note shows how many beats there are in each measure, while the bottom note shows what note value is equal to one beat. In a time signature “4” represents the quarter note.
The two time signatures she’s learned so far are 4/4 and 3/4. This means in 4/4 there are four beats in the measure and the quarter note receives one beat. In 3/4 there are three beats in the measure and the quarter note receives one beat. We will continue to review this in her lessons, but a little in-home revision will be really helpful too!
I want Chantal this week to work more on the Fireflies song in her book so that she can play it at the lesson confidently and without hesitation!
Warm Up: Continue playing the double thirds in D major. Go as slowly as you need to make sure you play all the right notes. Always play with strong fingers too! This will help train your brain to play this pattern faster when you’re ready!
Continue working on the F major and A major dominant seventh chords. If you want to look at them written out with fingerings, print off this sheet from the link below.
Hakuna Matata: Work on page six by breaking down each line as we did in the lesson. To review, this means playing each line hands separately at least three times in each hand. Count out loud! Even if the line is mostly held notes, still repeat it three times. Then, play the line hands together at least three times. This will greatly help to strengthen your confidence in the notes and where they fall within the beats.
As you practice, don’t feel like you need to do the whole page each day. If you only play one line in a practice session, that’s fine! Just make sure you rotate which one you work on every day.
Keep reviewing page 1-5. Rotate which one you work on each day!
Dragonfly Scherzo: Continue to practice this nice and slowly. Practice with the dynamics at the slower tempo as well. That way, when you eventually speed the piece up, it will be ready to go in all aspects! You are making great progress with this piece!
Sunset in Rio: Practice with a metronome to avoid speeding up later in the piece. Metronomes can also help you to keep playing through a piece after making a mistake because you’re driven by the beat to stay with the metronome. I suggest using your headphones while playing with the metronome so that you can hear it clearly. For this piece, try playing at 84. Sing the melody with the metronome before trying to play with it. It will take some practice, but once you get in the habit of playing with the metronome, it will strengthen your internal metronome too!
A general suggestion: When running through your pieces, don’t back up and try to fix mistakes. Get in the habit of playing through mistakes. This will be important in performance/exam situations.
Warm Up: Play the Dozen a Day Group II exercises 9-12.
This week, I want Zoe to review Alouette. There are parts in the song where both hands play together, and sometimes she forgets about the left hand. I just want the extra week of review to ensure she 100% sees the left hand part and feels more comfortable playing both hands at the same time.
As she already knows the notes for the piece, ask Zoe to try and play the song with the hand position we’ve been working on in her lesson. Ask her to try and play the song while keeping her fingers close to the keys when they’re not playing. Many students have a tendency to stick their fingers up in the air when they’re not playing. It’s important to train her fingers to stay close to the keys, so that when her pieces become more challenging, she’s able to quickly transition between notes.
We also tried to play her five-finger C scale while keeping our fingers close to the keyboard. This is another exercise you can try at home while she’s practicing.
Zoe can also take a look at “Write, Beethoven!” and “Rock It and Roll It.” Both of these songs use a quarter rest! We’ve seen it briefly in A Dozen a Day, but these are the first songs that use a rest that she’s played! All it means is that when she sees the rest, there should be silence for one beat! I suggest she say out loud “rest” or make a “shush” sound as she plays. You can even ask her to clap out the rhythm first with you.