DANIEL – Here is what I’d like you to work on over the summer: 1) Keep working through your book. 2) Keep singing songs and clapping along to the beat in time. 3) Keep practicing READING rhythms which use half notes and quarter notes. 4) LISTEN to music. Listen to a lot of music to figure out what you like. Once you figure out what you like, listen to similar stuff. Start building a library or playlist of Daniel’s Favourite Music.
OSCAR – Here is what I’d like you to work on over the summer: 1) Listen to A LOT of jazz. That is the absolute most important thing to do if you want to learn to play jazz, listen to it. If you get a chance to see some live jazz, do so. The Pilot, The Rex, and The Home Smith Bar are 3 venues that frequently have great jazz players coming through. 2) Lift lots of music. Either by ear and straight to the piano or write it down if you want (that part is not necessary). It can be jazz, blues, pop, rock, folk, classical, whatever, as long as you’re using your ears and figuring out how to play what you ear. 3) Improvise. 4) Get the RCM technical requirement books for the first few grades, and practice that stuff…with a metronome…focusing on proper hand position, no tension, lateral movements with the wrist, and so on.
AVRIL – Here is what I’d like you to work on over the summer. 1) Listen to A LOT of music…and especially music that involves improvisation: jazz, blues, R&B, rock — anywhere you’d hear somebody play a ‘solo’, that’s what you should be listening to. What similarities do you notice between styles? What differences? What do you like? What do you dislike? Why? 2) Just as a fun(?) little challenge, try working your way through the exercises in this video and see if you can understand what’s going on. IT’S OK IF YOU CAN’T — this is for university students, not middle school! — but since you expressed excitement when we were working on chromatic embellishments, I thought you might enjoy leaping ahead and doing something extra challenging. https://youtu.be/vQOa1q8QL6o 3) Keep working through the Czerny book, slowly and patiently. Don’t move to the ‘next’ piece until you’ve really mastered the last one. 4) Start practicing the scales you already know, hands together, TWO octaves. 5) Improvise plenty.
JULIE – Here is what I’d like you to work on over the summer. 1) Create a ‘wish list’ of ~20 pieces you’d like to learn on the piano. Don’t worry about if the pieces look too advanced – we can always work up to them with pieces that are similar but easier. I want to get a clearer sense of your musical taste, and I want us to be working on the repertoire that YOU love. 2) Keep working on everything else you’ve been working on! 3) Get the Functional Ear Trainer app and work through all the exercises. 4) Pick out some melodies (any old melody) and figure out the appropriate chords that go underneath them.
KRISTIN – Here is what I’d like you to be working on over the summer: 1) Acquire and start working through Mark Levine’s JAZZ PIANO BOOK. 2) Get the iRealPro (Android) or iRealB (Apple) app. 3) Keep working on stuff from The Young Pianist (patiently of course). 4) Keep working on composing your own music. 5) Keep working on exercises from the Brown Scale Book, as discussed.
Most important assignment for everyone is to HAVE FUN. :)