Anna should begin her practicing with a warm-up in A major, playing both staccato (detached) and legato (connected). In the lesson, we worked on it hands separately and I recommend she practice it that way at home as well.
Entry of the Gladiators: Anna had some trouble with connecting the right hand notes when the left hand was detached. We spent some time working on this in the lesson and I developed these steps to practicing these sections:
- practice slurred (connected) bits alone
- add left hand once you’ve practiced those 3-5 times.
- Play with strong fingers
- Record yourself to hear if you detached notes in places you shouldn’t. Sometimes it’s hard to hear as you’re playing, so having a recording is very helpful!
Anna can also start to look at Section B hands separately after she’s practiced Section A.
Over the Hurdles: Anna just has to practice the chromatic parts this piece and really focus on getting them more comfortable. I suggest lots of slow practice with strong fingers.
We also had a chance to look at the theory book and we did a bit of work on key signatures. We looked at the order in which the sharps must be written out (FCGDAEB). There’s some key signatures I circled that I want Anna to write out for next week.
Anna should be playing (or doing music theory) for 20 minutes every day!
We worked on understanding the difference between lower and higher sounds. To put it simply, when a melody moves from the right to the left of the piano, the melody is descending or getting “lower.” When the melody moves from the left to the right of the piano, the melody is getting “higher.” We also did some work on my warm-up book to help solidify staff reading.
At home this week Megane can review Mail Man, making sure to play the rests (4 beats of silence). She can also review Sheep, making sure to keep the hand that isn’t playing behind her back. She should always be looking at the piece before playing to determine what parts use the left hand and which use the right. A reminder: the right hand is the TOP STAFF. The left hand is the BOTTOM STAFF.
Megane should play for five minutes every day!
Sacha should begin by warming up with the Double 3rd exercise, hands separately. He should be using strong fingers and play with his fingers curved over the keys. He should always be watching what his hands are doing, especially since he doesn’t need to look at any music while doing this exercise!
Intermezzo: We started to look at this this week. I reviewed what the V7th chord is, which is essentially a major triad with a minor 3rd on top. It creates a little “crunchy” sound that’s very common in a lot of styles of music. At home, Sacha should play the first section hands separately ONLY! It’s important he’s 100% confident playing the notes before he adds the two hands together. He can play the A minor progression exercise at the top of the page before practicing piece itself.
This week’s piece to listen to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Nje7TuVJIo
Sacha should be practicing for 15 minutes every day, or as much as possible on days where he can’t get in 15 minutes.
We reviewed how to read the notes in the book (stems going UP mean RIGHT HAND, stems going DOWN mean LEFT HAND). We then took a look at Cuckoo Clock, and practiced the rhythm before playing it on the keyboard. Zoe did a really good job and understood how to play the piece. We also did a little ear training exercise using Puff the Magic Dragon by singing the melody and trying to find pitches we sang on the keyboard.
At home, Zoe should review Cuckoo Clock with mom or grandma. The instructions at the top of the page should be easy to follow if she forgets how the piece goes! She should play for 5 minutes every day and can review the song 1-3 times before moving onto whatever she wishes to play!
We worked on keeping the fingers close to the keyboard while playing. I suggested that Nelly think of the keyboard having maple syrup on it: it’s too sticky so her fingers can’t raise up when they’re not playing the notes. We also looked at one of my harder books and decided to learn a more challenging piece from it called Jazz Blast. I’ll bring the music in next week and we’ll start to look at it together and a slower pace. There’s a lot of symbols and notes she’s never seen before, but she’s excited for the challenge. We’ll move through her purple book at a faster speed.
At home Nelly can work on Cat Game and Mouse Game, making sure to think about the sticky keyboard. She should play the pieces 1-3 times every day before she moves on to playing whatever she wishes. She should play for 5 minutes every day!