We began the lesson with the chromatic scale warm-ups. I emphasized the importance of strong fingers as Anna played and we repeated some of the warm-ups using our strong fingers. I noticed that Anna had the tendency to let her wrist cave in after she finished playing the exercise. I asked her to try and keep the wrist up even after she finished playing.
We then looked at Storm at Midnight. Anna did great work on this! She played confidently and with strong fingers. We worked on the last bit of the piece afterwards. We also looked at Chromatic Scale Etude. I had a few notes for what Anna should pay attention to when she’s practicing
- make sure quarter notes are longer than the eighth notes
- count out loud by saying “one and two and…”
- begin your session practicing the 3rd and 4th line first
- play them hands separately 1-2 times
- then play them hands together
- finally, play the whole piece from start to finish
Anna can continue to do the chromatic scale warm-ups in her lesson book, making sure to play with strong fingers at all times!
She can learn the rest of Storm at Midnight. I would suggest beginning by practicing the last three lines, since these are the ones she’s less familiar with. She can then try to play the piece from beginning to end. She can also work on the Chromatic Scale Etude by following the steps outlined above. She should try to practice for 20 minutes every day, but on days where she can’t do a full 20 minutes any amount of practice time helps!
We began the lesson by reviewing Bossy Cow and Goldfish. Megane did a really good job playing the notes using the correct hands! She had some trouble remembering to play the tie (the line that connects two of the same note together – it means to hold it for the value of both notes together). But after we reviewed the concept, she played it without any problem.
We started to look at Snowy Clouds, another song that uses the tie. We also learned something new! We learned about a quarter rest: a symbol that means to be quiet for ONE BEAT. It looks like this
I encouraged Megane to say “SH” every time she sees a rest so that she makes sure to take that pause. We did some ear training work as well by using the Coldplay song.
Megane should review Snowy Clouds, Jump Rope, and Hop Scotch this week. She should be playing for 5 minutes every day, and can play whatever she likes afterwards if she has more time left on her session.
We began by doing the double 3rd warm-up. What makes this warm-up easy to play is curving the fingers over the keys. Sacha had some trouble keeping his fingers curved, so we spent some time reviewing the hand position and playing one round of the warm-up with that as a focus. The goal is to play with the tips of the fingers!
We spent the rest of the lesson looking at The Entertainer. I encouraged Sacha to go slowly and make sure to observe every note on the page carefully. The piece doesn’t go in the direction one may expect so it’s important that he’s not assuming what the notes are. We also spent some time putting one bar hands together by counting out loud. The rhythm on the right hand and the left hand doesn’t always line up together, so it’s important to go slowly and count out loud. This piece will be more challenging for Sacha, but it isn’t impossible. He just needs to be diligent and observant.
Sacha should continue to practice the double 3rd warm-up, making sure to try and curve his fingers and play with the tips of them. He may need to cut his nails to achieve this. He should work on the Entertainer in small sections, playing hands separately and together. It’s very important that he count out loud as well. He can listen to a recording of the piece so he can hear what the harmonies are meant to sound like. He should be practicing for 20 minutes every day. If he can’t practice 20 minutes, he should try and do as much as he can on busy days.
We began the lesson by reviewing the Twinkle Twinkle variations. Nelly remembered the hold the left hand note which was super awesome! We then began to work on the second Twinkle Twinkle variation. This one proved to be a bit more challenging for Nelly, and I emphasized the importance of always watching the music as she plays. Sometimes the notes aren’t what she may expect or assume. It was helpful to her when I used my finger to guide her along on the music, and this may be helpful for Mom to do at home when she practices.
We also looked at some exercises from my book A Dozen a Day and clapped the rhythms. Nelly did a great job reading the notes in the exercises that we looked at.
Nelly should review Twinkle Twinkle variation 2. The most important thing is that she watches the music as she plays. She will be finished her book soon and needs the next one. You can purchase it here.
We began the lesson by reviewing some concepts we’ve learned over the past few weeks, including playing loud and soft, short and long. We also reviewed the hand position and the correct sitting position too. We started to learn Twinkle Twinkle with me playing the notes and Zoe covering my hand with hers so she could feel how the song went. After repeating it several times, Zoe began to guide my hand on the keyboard herself! She was a bit hesitant to play it alone, so we’ll spend more time on that next week.
We also did some ear training. I played some chords and asked her if it sounded happy or sad (major or minor). I also played some notes and had Zoe guess where they were on the piano. Zoe did pretty well with this! She’s very new to it, so we repeated notes several times, but it was cool to see her progress. Finally, we also did some clapping exercises where I tapped a rhythm and she repeated it back to me with pretty good results.
All Zoe needs to do is practice sitting at the piano for five minutes. She can play whatever she wants! It’s just important that she’s getting used to being at the instrument and it helps encourage practice later as she develops her skills.