At home, Anna should be playing the D major scale as a warm-up. She can play hands separately. In the lesson, I made sure to emphasize the importance of playing with weight in the fingers (emphasize each note). This will help strengthen the fingers and solidify the notes in her brain.
Over the Hurdles: In the chromatic sections of this piece, Anna should be making sure to play with her strong fingers. She can practice these sections by playing them alone several times (3-5 times) and then playing the whole line. This will help to make these sections rhythmically consistent and strong!
Entry of the Gladiators: It’s important Anna remember to play all markings, including slurs (connected notes). She should play slowly and strong!
Anna should be practicing for 20 minutes every day. If she can’t get in a whole 20 minutes, even 10 minutes will help keep her in shape for when she has a longer practice.
In the lesson, we began by doing warm-ups in one of my books as a way to get the fingers ready to play. We’ll use it some more over the coming weeks and if Megane really likes the book and feels comfortable with it, I will recommend it be purchased.
The main thing that we worked on this lesson was playing with the correct hand. As a reminder the top staff is played with the right hand, the bottom staff is played with the left. We did an activity in the lesson where I asked Megane to put her hand behind her back when it didn’t need to be used. This seemed to help her keep track of which hand was needed to play the notes.
At home, Megane should review the songs Sheep and Wheels by using this method. When her other hand isn’t playing, it should be behind her back. When she needs to play, she can switch hands! She should be playing for 5-10 minutes every day.
At home, Sacha should begin each practice by doing the double 3rds exercise, from C all the way up to the next C. He should be paying close attention to his fingers, making sure they’re curved over the keys. Sacha’s fingers have a tendency to remain straight when he’s playing, and it’s important that we work on making the curved fingers more natural for him. It will help him play faster in the long run.
Go Down Moses: I want Sacha to continue to work on this, taking care to play the dynamics (loud/soft) throughout the piece.
Intermezzo: Sacha can start to work on this. He should play the chord exercise on the page before diving into the piece. We learned about a new chord, and this exercise works with practicing it! He can start to learn the first 2 lines, making sure to play with strong fingers!
This week, I encouraged Sacha to explore more music outside of his lesson. I will be posting links to pieces every week that he can check out. Here’s the first piece. I know it’s long, so he doesn’t need to listen to the whole piece. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yy3eQwu63A&t=22s
This week at home, Nelly can work on the Hungarian Dance in her book. This is based on a piece written by Johannes Brahms. We spent time in the lesson listening to the full piece and Nelly was very interested in that. You could even look up some more of Brahms’ music, especially his orchestral works. I would suggest listening to some of this symphony. It’s very dramatic and fun.
As we discussed, here’s some extra things Nelly can work on this week. She can try these worksheets. They ask the student to identify the note, and then spell out a story at the same time! If she enjoys these sheets, I can find or make more that are similar.
Nelly could also try to learn a song by ear (listening to the melody and figuring it out on the piano). I suggest the song “If I Ain’t Got You” because it has a nice melody that she might enjoy. She can also do this activity with any song she might like (ex Disney/movie song). I suggest she listen to small (10 second) section a few times and sing the melody to herself. Then she can try to find the note on the piano. We will also do this activity in the lesson.
I can also try some pieces in my Royal Conservatory of Canada book in the next lesson. While they feature some notes she hasn’t learned yet, she may welcome the challenge in addition to what she’s learning in her book.
We began the lesson by playing Wendy the Whale and Magic Tree House. Zoe did a really good job and played the pieces all by herself!
We then started to learn about the notation in the book. The kind of notation used in the early books is called directional reading. This means that the notes with stems pointing up are to be played with the right hand and stems pointing down are to be played with the left hand. There’s instructions included in the book that can be read by a parent/grandparent to review at home. Nelly is also very familiar with this notation.
At home Zoe can complete the activity on the Dancing Feet page. She should circle which notes would be played with the right hand in red and which should be played with the left hand in blue. We will review it in the lesson next week! Zoe can also review her previous songs on the piano so that she keeps her hand in playing.