This week, we focused on independent fingers. Some key points we discussed were
- keeping fingers close to keys, even when they’re not playing notes
- lifting one finger at a time and playing the note, trying to keep the other non-playing fingers on the keys
- playing your songs on a flat surface (a table or closed piano) to practice finger independence
We also talked about the skip and the step: the skip is when a melody moves from a line to another line or a space to another space. The step is when a melody moves from a space to a line (or vice versa).
When reading the music, take a look at how the notes are related to middle C (the note with the line through the middle).
Page 24 – review the songs on this page. Focus on the independent finger concepts we talked about.
Page 26 – start to work on the Harmonic Interval songs. One way to tell the 2nd and 3rd apart: 2nds are “squished” together while the 3rds are “stacked” one on top of the other. Play the harmonic intervals alone several times to build strength. The goal: you want to hear both tones sounded at the same time!
Try to play for 15 minutes every day. On days you can’t practice, try the finger independence exercise on a flat surface. You could even do it on a book while riding the bus!
In the lesson we did the activity in her lesson book called Sneaky Thumb. It helps to form the hand position. Rachel was a bit hesitant to use this hand position to play, but I’m hoping if she practices with it, she will become more used to it.
This week at home, Rachel can begin to learn Birthday Train with the help of Mom or Dad. We didn’t have as much time to work on it, since we spent a good deal of the lesson with the Sneaky Thumb exercise, so she may need more adult guidance this week. She should be using the finger numbers on the page.
You can also review the Sneaky Thumb exercise at home. The instructions are easy to follow and it will be good to review the hand position as much as possible. She should be playing for five minutes every day.
Chantal can begin her practicing with A Dozen a Day Group II in D major, #7-9. In the lesson, we reviewed the importance of keeping the fingers close to the keys during these exercises. Chantal doesn’t need to move her hand too much while playing them. She can keep her hand in the same position for the whole exercise. Just make sure Chantal isn’t tensing up her hand! We want the hand to be still, but loose.
Chantal can review A Mixed Up Song this week and should start with bar 17, which has the left hand melody she is less comfortable with. She should play this section 3 times before playing the piece from beginning to end.
In the lesson we started to look at Flute of the Andes. Chantal can start to work on this at home. She should always make sure she keeps the quarter rests in the song and I suggest she even say “rest” when she sees one!
She should play for 15 minutes every day.
Zoe can begin her practice with A Dozen a Day Group III 1-3 in E MAJOR! She can start by playing the exercises in C before trying them in E.
Pop Pop Popcorn: the focus in this exercise is to keep the fingers close to the keys, even though the notes are detached.
Young Hunter: In the lesson we circled when the melody “steps” up or down so that they are more easy to spot among the many skips in the music. Zoe should practice holding down the right hand note (E) as the left hand plays moving notes 3-5 times every day. It’s still a bit challenging for her to have 2 hands doing two different things.
Warm-Ups: Double 3rds.
F# harmonic minor scale – review
F# melodic minor scale – begin playing hands together mid-week (Sunday/Monday)
Humoresque: focus on highlighted spots and play the right hand especially. Feel free to eliminate middle voices that cause problems. When running through the piece, keep going even when you make a mistake! Try to run through it without stopping 3 times each day.
Pavane: enlarge your sheet music! Start each practice session by playing the last two pages. Remember these tricks to make your learning more efficient and comfortable:
- on last 2 pages, eliminate lower left hand tone.
- bring ledger line passage DOWN the octave, or bring lower left hand tone UP the octave to make it easier on your fingers.
- b.31 – you can remove lower eight note and just play the 3rds.
Lied: practice this piece last (or close to the end) and run through it 2-3 times per day. Record yourself to see where improvement is needed.
Use your whole body to move with the music and use the weight of your arms/torso to make the fortes have more power! You don’t have to just use the weight in your hands.
Watch any professional pianist to see how they move as the play. Suggestions: Martha Argerich, Glenn Gould, Evgeny Kissin.