Anna

We started with the Chromatic Scales warm-up in her performance book. She was playing very lightly at first, so I emphasized the importance of strong fingers and she played the warm-up with more strength afterwards. I suggested she also try the exercises hands separately and together, as she sometimes would have more trouble when she played hands together straight away.

We then looked at Storm at Midnight. She showed me the first line, which had some really good progress! We then started to look at the 2nd line of the piece. I suggested Anna count out loud when practicing this to make sure she’s playing the rhythms correctly and isn’t rushing through longer notes. We counted the line together by saying “one and two and…”

Anna then showed me Chromatic Scale studies in her Technic book. She’s got a good hold on the fingering for the chromatic scale now! I emphasized it’s very important that she watch the notes carefully, as the direction of the notes may be different than she might intuitively think. I also noticed that as Anna played the left hand line, her wrist had a tendency to twist. I asked Anna to imagine her hand is on a train track and it can only move from side to side in a straight line. The hand should barely move when playing the chromatic scale! The only thing that will move are the fingers and the arm.

At home

Anna should continue to use the Chromatic Scale warm-up in her performance book as the first thing she does every practice session.

Storm at Midnight: Anna can start working on the second line, starting by playing it hands separately. She can then try to put the hands together. If she finds this easy to do and has extra time, she can try to play the first two lines together!

Chromatic Scale Studies: Anna should review the first two lines every day, hands together and separately. She can start to work on line 3. It’s very important she pays close attention to the direction of each line. She can even observe this before she begins playing (ex: she could look at the notes and see they ascend, descend, and then ascend again). This may help her have a better picture of what’s going to happen while she’s playing.

She should practice for 20 minutes every day! I suggest breaking up the practice session into 2 smaller sessions on days where she can’t sit down for a full 20 minutes all at once.

Megane

We began the lesson by reviewing the songs from last week (Ice Cream and Hot Cross Buns). We played these a few times, and then I played the Teacher Duet parts with her. This was a lot of fun! We then started to look at the new songs and learned about something new: The Tie!

The tie is a line that connects two of the same notes together (for example C and C). All it means is that the student needs to hold the finger down for the value of the two notes. So if a tie is between two quarter notes, the student needs to hold the note for 2 beats!

We worked on the song Bossy Cow. Megane named all the notes and even played the ties perfectly! We also briefly looked at the song The Goldfish.

In addition, I used one of my other books with some short exercises. Megane was able to name the notes right away! We worked on playing the notes with the correct hand (right hand plays top line, left hand plays bottom).

Finally we did some ear training work with The Scientist! This session, I asked Megane to listen to the melody and see if the notes were getting higher, lower, or staying the same. She did really well figuring this out! We learned a bit more of the verse and chorus.

At home: Megane should review Bossy Cow and The Goldfish at home. She should try to use the correct hands while playing, but it’s okay if she makes mistakes! She can also work on The Scientist a bit by listening to the melody several times, singing it back and playing notes on the piano until she finds the correct pitch!

Sacha

We began the lesson by doing the Double 3rd warm-up. I emphasized the importance of using strength in the fingers, as this exercise will help improve hand muscle. We played the exercise hands separately.

Sacha had lots of questions about Mozart and Beethoven. I suggested in the future we could do small music history assignments where he’d research famous composers and report back with interesting facts.

We looked at Greensleeves and reviewed pedaling. The main goal is to make sure there’s no silence in between pedals. He should put the pedal up AFTER he changes chords, and then immediately press the pedal back down. Sacha had a good grasp on the concept by the time we moved on to the next piece.

Sacha expressed some interest in learning The Entertainer, so I provided him with the sheet music today. As there’s lots of eighth notes, I suggest Sacha count out loud! We also learned a new musical symbol: 8va. This symbol just means the line needs to be played an octave higher than written.

At home:

Sacha should do the double 3rd warm-up hands separately with strong fingers. He should begin to incorporate pedal into Greensleeves. He should try to learn the first page and a half of The Entertainer hands separately, counting out loud! Through all this Sacha should be focusing on keeping his fingers curled over the keys in a claw-like shape.

He should practice for 20 minutes every day! I suggest breaking up the practice session into 2 smaller sessions on days where he can’t sit down for a full 20 minutes all at once.

Nelly

We began the lesson by reviewing last week’s assignment. Nelly played Twinkle Twinkle really nicely! She had some trouble holding the left hand note at the end of the song, so we spent some time reviewing how to play it. I emphasized it’s very important to follow the notes on the pages with your eyes as you play. I pointed to the notes as Nelly played. This seemed to help her play the tied left hand note at the correct moment!

We then looked at Variation 1 of Twinkle Twinkle. Much like the original melody, there’s a moment where the left hand holds down the key as the right hand plays. We spent a bit more time reviewing playing the tied note in the left hand.

We took a quick stretch break and then looked at some exercises from A Dozen a Day. She did really well naming the notes! We spent some time reviewing which hand plays which line, and where to place her hands on the keys.

Finally, we did a quick review of this week’s assignment to be sure the information about the held left hand note was sticking with her. She articulated what to do really well and showed me perfectly!

At home

Nelly should review Twinkle Twinkle and Variation 1. She should play each 2-3 times every day! In total, she should spend 5 minutes at the piano.

Zoe

We began the lesson by reviewing the things we covered last week, including sitting at the piano, hand position, playing different types of notes (short, long, white key, black key). We also reviewed finger numbers. We also did the cookie dough exercise to help improve finger strength by imagining we’re pressing a chocolate chip into a cookie on a table. Zoe enjoyed this quite a bit!

We also worked on some clapping games, where I clapped a rhythm and Zoe tried to copy it. We also did the same with notes on the piano. I asked Zoe to try and sing the note back to me, then we changed roles.

Finally, we started to look at Twinkle Twinkle, but I think we’ll need to start it next week at the beginning of the lesson. We ended by doing an exercise where I played a song and Zoe interacted with the lyrics by following the instructions I sang on the keyboard.

At home

All Zoe needs to do this week is practice sitting at the piano. She can then play whatever she wants! She just needs to sit down at the piano for 5 minutes to become accustomed to the idea of practicing.

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