We began the lesson by doing some stretches and playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. We then reviewed Monsieur Mouse, the song we looked at last week. Rachel did a really good job with this, and even used all the correct fingerings! We played the song a few times with much success. We then looked at the next song in the book “Raccoon Lullaby.” This song was a bit more challenging for Rachel, as it used finger numbers instead of note names. We spent some time reviewing how to play the song, and then Rachel played it with me.
At home I’d like Rachel to review Raccoon Lullaby. The song at the beginning passes the melody from the right to the left hand. The lines help show the student how the notes are connected to the overall melody. I suggest Mom or Dad help Rachel out by saying the finger numbers as she plays once or twice before encouraging Rachel to play it by herself. She should play for 5 minutes every day. If she finishes working on her song faster than that, she can play whatever she’d like for the rest of the time!
We began by doing some light stretches and then reviewed the sitting position at the piano. We reviewed Ode to Joy, which Chloe did really well! We also clapped the rhythm.
We started to read the staff today. Chloe was a bit hesitant to start learning it, but once she understood the basics, she was very enthusiastic about playing the songs! We learned how to read D on the staff and played the song “Tub Time.” I asked Chloe to explain to me how she could differentiate between C and D. She told me C has a line through its middle, while D doesn’t. D is also closer to the staff than C.
We also started to look at the next song “Gliding Goldfish.” The song features a lot of repeated notes, so I asked Chloe to show me where the repeated notes where. She pointed to the correct ones. I asked her why she thought they were the same, and she replied it was because they looked the same!
At home, I’d like Chloe to review “Tub Time.” She should play for 5 minutes every day, and repeat the song 2-3 times. Once she finishes, she can play whatever she likes! It’s important that she gets into the habit of playing a bit every day.
We began the lesson by playing the Dozen a Day exercises in both C and G major. Chantal did really well with these, but had some hesitations. I asked her to repeat some of them with strong fingers.
This week we learned about intervals! An interval is the space between two notes. A step in music is also known as a 2nd. We worked on the song “Traffic Jam 2nds,” which uses entirely the 2nd interval! We also briefly learned about the interval of a 3rd, which was known in her books as a step.
We also did a bit of ear training. Chantal closed her eyes and I asked her to tell me if the interval I played was a 2nd or a 3rd. She did really well with this exercise!
Chantal expressed some interest in writing her own songs, so I suggested she write them down on paper and I will perform it next week! You can download free sheet music here. http://www.musictheory.org.uk/pdf/manuscript-10.pdf
At home Chantal can review exercises 7-9 in Group I of A Dozen a Day (in C and G major). She can also review Traffic Jam 2nds this week. She should be playing/writing music for 15 minutes every day!
We began the lesson by playing an A major scale, followed by warm-ups from A Dozen a Day in A major. Zoe did a really great job with this, but I think another week of playing these warm-ups will be very helpful.
We looked at the song Ferris Wheel in her lesson book. The main thing about this song is connecting the notes. Zoe had the most trouble keeping all the notes connected in bar 9-12. I had a few suggestions on how to play it
- practice connecting the notes in this (bar 9-12) passage 2-3 times.
- ask yourself if the notes were connected, or if there was a silence between the notes
- play the whole song!
- how many times can you play the song and keep all the notes connected?
We also worked on the Ferris Wheel Improv exercise in her theory book, and then looked at the technique exercise Peacock Strut. I emphasized the importance of strong fingers and keeping the 4th finger curved!
At home, I want Zoe to review exercises 1-3 in A major from A Dozen a Day. I also want Zoe to review Peacock Strut, making sure to use strong fingers and try to keep the 4th finger curved. She can also review Ferris Wheel using the steps I suggested above. She can practice for 10-15 minutes every day.
Here is some blank staff paper for Zoe to write down her melodies she composes! http://www.musictheory.org.uk/pdf/manuscript-10.pdf
Warm-Up: Double 3rds, legato and staccato. Work on making the 4th and 5th fingers as loud as the other three. Practice one round of the warm-up to focus on this specifically (hands separately).
A major scale: Review and focus on evenness of fingers and rhythm (practice with a metronome!)
Rhythm Drills: Continue working on 1-4. Clap them and play them on the piano. Focus especially on #4 and the 6/8 rhythm! You can count the mini-pulses aloud before trying to do the rhythm.
Lied: Great pedaling! Now it’s time to add in the dynamics. Make sure to play all accents and add weight from your arm to contribute to the sound! Circle them or colour them to make them stand out. Ask yourself “what’s the highest point of the piece (the climax)?” It can be helpful to listen to different recordings and hear how the performers interpreted it (but don’t try to copy them – make the piece YOUR OWN!)
Bach: Add the dynamics this week! Pencil in your own cresc and dim. Generally, the rule is if the melody is ascending: cresc. If it’s descending: dim. Make the contrast really intense! Make sure to pay attention to any 16th notes that may be uneven and practice them alone several times.
Clementi: practice 16th passages by playing them with dotted rhythms, then playing them as straight 16ths. We will work on some hand strengthening exercises next week.