Warm Up: I want Vivienne to do all twelve exercises from A Dozen a Day Group II every time she practices. The goal is to play through each exercise smoothly and comfortably. She will find the more times she does all these exercises, the faster she will get through them!
Haunted Mouse: This lesson, Vivienne showed me the first line of the piece hands together. We took a look at the second line of the piece, hands separately and together. This week, Vivienne should practice the second line hands together and separately. She should continue to review the first line hands together as well.
Riddles: Same assignment as last week, as Vivienne forgot her book. To review: I want Vivienne to continue practicing it one bar at a time, hands together. She should repeat each bar three times before playing it all the way through every time she practices.
- Vivienne should always double check the notes, especially in the left hand. Sometimes when she sees fingerings, she assumes the notes must be in relation to middle C (ex: if a note uses finger 4 in the left hand, she will play a G, since that is 4 fingers away from middle C). I encourage her to write down the notes in the left hand to help her as she practices.
This week, Chloe played “Mary’s Rocking Pets” all by herself for me for the first time!
We looked at “Old Pig Donald,” which is on page 58-59. Chloe is improving greatly in reading the notes and playing the keyboard at the same time! For the next lesson, I want her to practice this song and play it for me by herself again.
This song has two verses and a chorus. The book then asks the student to repeat the first page one more time to end the song. Please ask Chloe to follow all these repeats at least once each time she practices. She can sing along to the words too (or someone else can sing the lyrics as she plays) to make the repeats more interesting.
- Continue to ask her “what hand does this song start on?” If there’s a bass clef at the beginning of the song, that means she should start playing with her left hand!
- Having someone sit with her as she practices would be ideal, as she is still very young and will need some guidance to stay on task.
- Chloe should keep practicing 5-10 minutes every day! Repetition is really important in learning music, and establishing a routine will help build good habits as she progresses in piano.
Warm Up: This lesson, we started learning A Dozen a Day Group III with the exercises “The Splits” and “Deep Breathing.” Please print off the scan of these two exercises so that Chantal can practice them this week!
Princess or Monster: I want Chantal to review this song this week. This song also features a quarter rest, like the previous song did. When Chantal sees a rest, she needs to lift her finger from the keys, but keep her fingers close enough that she does not have to move much to play the notes that follow. She shouldn’t totally remove her hand from the keyboard.
If Chantal has extra time and wants to learn a new song, she can start to look at The Bugle Boys. This is the last song in her book! If she has the next book in that series, she can bring it next week. If she doesn’t, I can provide additional learning material from the books in my collection.
Remind Chantal to keep both her hands on the keyboard ready to play, even if one hand is not playing at the same time as the other. This makes for smoother transitions between the left and right hand in a song.
Warm Up: Double 3rds, ascending and descending, legato and staccato.
A major dominant 7 chord: solid and broken.
A major chord progression: solid and broken.
Hakuna Matata: Continue practicing page 5. Break it into small sections and really take your time looking over these small sections. Repeat each section three times. Try playing all the sections on page 5 one after the other once you feel totally comfortable playing them separately. If you don’t feel comfortable before the next lesson, that’s alright! We can keep reviewing the smaller sections until they feel more natural and playing them in sequence is less daunting.
Keep reviewing the pages 1-4. Try to look at one of these pages per practice day. Rotate which one you will concentrate on each day.
Dragonfly Scherzo: Great playing on the last 2 lines! Start thinking about dynamics this week. Where can you see crescendo and diminuendo? Write them into your score! When adding these dynamics, test out what the “goal dynamic” will be. Then, begin at the starting dynamic, keeping that final goal dynamic in mind.
Practice with a combination of strong, deliberate fingers, and faster lighter fingers. It’s important to keep the fingers conditioned with the strong finger technique, so that when the tempo speeds up, your fingers will be reliable and sure of their place on the keyboard.
Sunset in Rio: Work on the cresc and dim in the piece this week. Similar to Dragonfly Scherzo, figure out the “goal dynamic” and then work backwards, starting at the beginning of the cresc or dim and keeping the final dynamic in mind.
Warm Up: Zoe should look at A Dozen a Day exercises 3-5 in Group II.
Pet Dragon: This week, I want Zoe to review “Pet Dragon” and focus on her hand position, since she already knows the notes and is familiar with them.
A reminder of how the hand position should look:
- 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!
In addition, Zoe can practice “Hide and Seek,” paying special attention to the dynamic changes. If she wants, she can colour the fortes one colour, and the pianos another colour. That will give her a visual aid to know when to play loud and soft!