Anna

This week, we began our lesson by doing a quick warm-up with C major. Anna is able to play the scale quite comfortably and with strong fingers!

We then looked at Alberti Etude, since it was one she found the most challenging before the break. We started by playing the “Alberti Bass Warm-Up” in C major, and then transposed it into F major to practice the structure of the left hand. We then worked on playing the first part of the piece hands together. I broke the first line into small two-bar sections, which we repeated many times at a slow pace.

We also looked at Stars and Stripes Forever. Anna was really comfortable playing the first half the of the piece. She played it smoothly with confidence! As with the Alberti Etude, she’s been having similar problems with the last three lines of the piece, so I suggested she try to focus on one line for the next week, instead of trying to play all three.

This week, at home

Anna should continue to play D and C major as a warm-up using strong fingers and making sure to keep her fingers close to the keys.

Alberti Etude: This week, I want Anna to only focus on the first two lines of the piece. She should play as slowly as she needs to for accuracy. If she has a bar that is consistently problematic, she should just play that bar 4-5 times by itself.  She should also practice playing the last bar of the first line and just landing on the first note of the next bar. This will help with the transition from one line to the other.

Stars and Stripes Forever: This week, I want Anna to focus on 3rd-last line hands together. She can use similar practice techniques from the Alberti Etude in learning this line. Afterwards, she can play the beginning of the piece to keep it fresh in her mind.

Theory book – Anna can do the exercise on page 2, and also write in the note names above to help with note-reading skills.

Anna should try to practice for 15-20 minutes every day! On days where Anna can’t practice, I suggest she look at her music and play the song in her head. Sometimes just looking at the music and visualize playing it will help keep it fresh in her mind.

Megane

This week, we began by reviewing the songs we’d looked at before the break. Megane sometimes mixed up D and B on the staff, but she is beginning to correct herself after she has made the mistake. This is great!

We started to look at a new note: E! E is the note right beside D on the keyboard. It’s also rests on the first line of the staff. We played the songs that use the note E together.

This week at home

I’d like Megane to review the E songs “The Shoe Cobbler,” and “The Rain.” While she’s playing, it would be helpful for a parent or other adult relative to sit with Megane and remind her to do a few important things:

  • Keep both hands on the keyboard! This will help to transition from one hand to another easily.
  • Use the suggested finger numbers! They’re written so that the student can play comfortably and easily.
  • Megane can write in note names whenever she has trouble with help from an adult.

Megane should try to play piano for 5-10 minutes every day. After reviewing her songs, she’s free to play whatever she likes! She should play each song 3 times first.

Sacha

This week, we started by doing a warm-up C major scale. Sacha played it hands separately so well, I suggested he try to play hands together.

We then took a look at The Major and the Minor in his lesson book. Sacha had lots of questions about key signatures. I reviewed what a major key is and how key signatures worked. We also talked about musical form. This piece specifically as an ABA form, which means the first section is repeated after the second section (B) ends. The B section is usually musically quite different from the “A” section.

In this piece, the A section is made up of two phrases. The first phrase ends with a “question.” This means it doesn’t end on the home note C. The second phrase comments on this by repeating the material of the first phrase, but then resolves the question at the end by ending on the home note C.

This week at home

Sacha can use the C major scale as a warm-up, playing hands together with strong fingers. He can then practice The Major and the Minor. I suggest he try to play the first two lines hands together. He can practice the rest hands separately.

Things to watch out for:

  • Sacha should try to keep his wrists elevated slightly above the keyboard, and his fingers curled over the keys in a claw-like position.
  • His hand and wrist should be nice and relaxed. A parent can try to move his wrist while he’s playing. If they’re able to move it, he’s relaxed enough while playing. If they can’t move it, he needs to shake out some of that tension before continuing to play.
  • He should always sit up straight at the piano with shoulders rolled back

Sacha should try to practice for 15-20 minutes every day.

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