Good luck to all in the recital on Sunday! I’m including a few tips for each of you so you can feel extra prepared and ready to play.
“Runaway Rabbit” and “Kites in the Sky” are in great shape! If there is one thing for you to focus on for Sunday, it’s your tempo. That means two things: first, it means to pick a good tempo that isn’t too fast or too slow; the second thing is to keep the same tempo for the whole piece, so no getting faster or slower (except at the end of “Kites in the Sky”). Speeding up makes it harder for your brain to remember your notes, dynamics, and other details that we talked about in the lessons – keeping the same tempo keeps you more secure and less likely to make mistakes. Also, remember not to stop if you make a mistake! Watch out in “Runaway Rabbit” in measure 5 that there are only 3 Es. Last thing – I like how you got slower in “Kites in the Sky”! Just remember not to slow down until the very end.
“When Our Band Goes Marching By” sounds fantastic! I want you to think about two things – tempo and your hand position. Remember to set a good “march” tempo, which is not too fast. Also remember that after you set your tempo, to keep it throughout – so no rushing or slowing down, By not rushing, you will be able to focus and remember the tricky things about the piece, like your rests in the right hand! Also remember to keep a good hand position – curved and high like mountains, and make sure the wrists are not too low. This will help you control your fingers better, and avoid mistakes as well.
After the recital, keep working on “Get Away”. This also sounds great – I would practice in groups of two measures at a time, and when you get comfortable, connect the two groups, and then that should make it more comfortable to play the entire section/piece. Pay extra attention to the last two measures of the middle section (the last two measures of the “middle d position” section). This may require additional hands separate practice.
“Rock Song” and “Rockets” are in great shape! If you would also like to play “Sea Divers”, just let Barnaby know. Remember to keep a good hand position so that you are always relaxed. A good hand position helps you to have a nice sound on the piano, and also have more control of your fingers. For “Rock Song”, be sure to clap the rhythms if it’s taking you some time to remember the rhythm. Also, remember your dynamics – f=forte, which means loud, and p=piano which means soft. I think there was an mf somewhere, which means mezzo forte = or medium loud, so not as loud as forte.
After the recital, you can keep working on “Play a Fourth” and “July the Fourth”. “Play a Fourth” was already sounding great! Watch your hand position in this piece. In “July the Fourth”, after the fourths, remember to pay attention to when the notes go up, down, or stay the same. This will require you to look at the book and focus on reading each note. This will require some patience, but you read “Play a Fourth” so easily, so I can already see that you have been working really hard on your reading.
“Get Away” and “Alouette” will be wonderful on Sunday – you should feel very confident in all of your hard work! Remember for “Get Away”, to think about the strong beats. It will sound more awake and lively – we will definitely be able to hear the horse if we can hear the strong beats. For “Alouette”, remember to keep track of your rhythms. The dotted quarter notes should get one and a half beats, so be sure to count “one-and-two” for each dotted quarter note. During practice time, you can say it out loud, but otherwise, you can count in your head.
After the recital, you have three more pieces to work on, which were also sounding great! For “Ode to Joy”, remember to count for the dotted quarter notes, and that the next eighth note is really a quick eighth note – not slow. Also think about your dynamics – the piano is soft, like one single, lonely violinists, and the fortes are grand, like a whole orchestra. Also work on “Lavender Blue” and “When You Grow Up” after the recital. Remember to hold your dotted half notes in “Lavender Blue” for three whole beats. For “When You Grow Up”, you can warm up by playing the left hand’s first four measures alone. Keep track of your fingerings in that section.