Vivienne

Warm Up: Hanging by a Bar with Left Hand, Hanging by a Bar with Both Hands.

Song: Vivienne should first practice hands separately, counting out loud by saying “one and two and three and four and.” It’s important for Vivienne to maintain a steady pulse.

After practicing with her hands separate, Vivienne can try to play the piece hands together. I suggest she take the piece one bar at a time instead of trying to play through the whole thing all at once. Once she feels comfortable with one bar hands together, she can proceed to the next and so on. She can go as slowly as she needs to ensure she is playing all the right notes.

Practicing Tips

  • Vivienne should practice at the same time each day to build a routine. I suggest she practice for 15-20 minutes.
  • Vivienne’s wrists should be nice and relaxed while she plays. In the lesson, I asked her to relax her arm at her side so that she could take a look at how her hand is shaped when she is in a resting position. Her hand should look similar while playing the piano as well. The wrist should not be below the keyboard, but slightly above it.

Chloe

In this lesson, Chloe learned about the half note! The half note has white in the middle of it, instead of black like the quarter note. A half note is equal to two beats. The quarter note is equal to one.

On page 46-47, there are rhythms using the half note and quarter note together. Chloe and I worked on these in the lesson. I would like her to review them this week.

In addition, Chloe can work on “Monsieur Mouse.” This piece introduces Chloe to note names (C,D,E). Help Chloe review these by asking her to show you where the notes are on the keyboard. While she practices the song, make sure she counts out loud and holds the half notes for two beats.

The book is designed to gradually become more difficult as the student learns more concepts about music. It’s very important Chloe practice for ten minutes each day so that she becomes comfortable with the concepts she learned this week. That way, when we learn something new, she isn’t overwhelmed.

Chantal

Warm Up: Jump Rope and Walking Down a Hill

Songs: Grandmother and Musical Questions. In both of these pieces, the writers have included musical skips. A skip means that the melody moves from a note on a line to a note on another line or a space to another space. If a melody passes from a note on a space to a note on a line, it’s called a step. I have asked Chantal to circle the musical skips, so that her eye notices a difference between the skips and steps.

Make sure Chantal is always watching the notes on the page. There are some melodies that use skips and steps in surprising ways that she may not anticipate! She should also continue to count out loud.

Tanishq

Warm Ups: Double thirds, ascending and descending. Play with strong fingers and go slowly to train and strengthen your fingers. You can also vary the rhythm by playing swing 8ths. This technique also helps to train your fingers, so that when you play straight 8th notes, your fingers move a lot more smoothly.
Ab melodic minor formula pattern. Like always playing through the scale without the pattern first to familiarize yourself with all the notes. Then, once you feel comfortable, play the scale in the formula pattern.

Sunset in Rio: Practice bar 17-32 hands separately first at every practice session. Pay close attention to the left hand notes. Then, practice hands together together slowly, using strong and deliberate fingers. Count out loud always, saying “one and two and three and four and.”
Always pay attention to the notes! Sometimes the composer throws in unexpected ones, so always be vigilant that you’re not predicting which note comes next and instead are playing the correct note in the score. If need be, circle notes you get wrong! It helps to have a visual reminder.
You can also listen to the CD recording of the piece to further familiarize yourself with how the piece is supposed to sound.

Hakuna Matata: On page 4, review the whole thing, but focus especially on the last two lines of the page. Always count out loud!
Practice the left hand three times by itself before playing hands together! Then, try to play the whole page hands together three times.
Isolate bars and repeat them when needed. It is not necessary to always play the passage the whole way through if there is a particular spot that you always have problems with, or is more inconsistent. If there is a bar where you sometimes play it all the way through perfectly, but then sometimes also have issues with it, isolate it and practice it slowly until it becomes a more consistent passage.

Zoe

Warm Up: Zoe finished learning Group 1 from A Dozen a Day! The goal with these exercises is to eventually play all 12 of the exercises daily. So, to start out, I have asked Zoe to play through the first six warm-ups in Group 1 every day before practicing her songs.

Songs: Tap be Nimble and Picnic with Friends.

Music Theory: Zoe should come up with some sentences to remember the bass clef spaces (ACEG). My favourite is All Cows Eat Grass, but if she comes up with one she will remember easily, then that’s even better!

Practice Hints

  • Remind Zoe to place both her hands on the keyboard in their starting spot, even if one hand comes into the piece later than the first. You can ask Zoe to show you which note the right hand starts one, and then which note the left hand starts on.
  • Ask Zoe to do the “pat the cat” exercise to relax her wrist. She can also take a look at the picture posted above to visualize what her hand should look like on the keyboard.
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