Anna

We began by working on a warm-up of D major hands separately. I noticed Anna kept twisting her hand as she tucks her thumb under, so I worked for a bit with her on keeping her hand still as she tucks her thumb.

Anna showed me the Chromatic Etude, which she did a great job with! We then moved onto the next etude in the technic book, which was Over the Hurdles. Since this piece features a lot of single-hand melodies, I suggested she learn it hands together from the start. As Anna’s hands are still a little too small to play octaves, I suggested that she gently lift her hand from the bottom note to the top note with as little detachment as possible.

Anna also showed me Storm at Midnight and we spent some time working on how to play crescendo. We played the right hand by itself first, highlighting which note should be the loudest. Then we worked on gradually going from quiet to loudest in the measure. Finally, we added in the left hand. She can begin looking at the new piece, Entry of the Gladiators. I suggested she try to play with dynamics from the start!

At home

Anna should begin with a D major warm-up, keeping her hand relaxed but as still as possible. She doesn’t need to move too much when she tucks her thumb under. She can then work on Over the Hurdles hands together as well as Entry of the Gladiators. She should play with dynamics from the start so that they’ll be easier to refine later.

As always she should practice for 20 minutes every day, or as much as possible on the busier days.

Megane

We began the lesson by working on the ear training Coldplay song. Megane remembered the beginning of the song and played really confidently. We then sang the next few notes in the song and tried to assess if the note was higher or lower than the last note we played. We continued doing this note by note. Megane is getting better every week at noticing if a note is higher than its predecessor.

We then looked at the Step by Step book and the songs Megane had been working on “Sheep,” and “Wheels.” The main thing Megane needs to focus on this week is playing the notes with the correct hand. She has a tendency to play everything with her right, which makes things more difficult as she has to jump around on the keyboard. The two hand system makes playing a lot easier. We also reviewed rest lengths and how to count them.

At home

Megane can play Mail Man at home. Since the song is longer than the others, I suggest she should at least work on the first two lines. She should play for at least 5 minutes every day, and if she finishes with her song, she can play other things for the remaining time.

Sacha

We began the lesson by playing the double 3rd warm-up I introduced to Sacha last term. We’ve been using it periodically throughout the term. I noticed that Sacha has a tendency to keep his fingers straight while playing instead of curved over the keys. The way he’s playing now may become more uncomfortable as his pieces get more difficult, so I strongly suggested he observe his fingers as he warmed up and try to correct them.

In order for him to play the warm-up with curved fingers, I suggest he keep his fingernails trimmed short. He can file them down throughout the week (once every couple of days).

We began to work on Go Down Moses. The piece uses chords from the A major scale, and the page before the piece has chord progressions (collections of chords) that appear in the piece. It will be helpful for him to play these chords before practicing the piece, as the left hand part uses them.

At home

Sacha should play the double 3rd warm-up first with strong fingers, checking his hands as he plays and correcting them if his fingers were straight. He should also work on Go Down Moses, playing the chord progressions first. He should practice for 10-15 minutes every day.

Nelly

We began the lesson by working on the C scale as a warm-up and I taught her the fingerings for the scale. We will review it next lesson too.

We then reviewed Twinkle Twinkle Variations, which Nelly did really well with. She played confidently and at a good speed. We then started to look at the new book, including the song Con Brio! I also helped Nelly by giving her some sentences to help her remember the letters in the lines and spaces of the staff. To review they are (count the lines/spaces from bottom to top while using this method)

Right hand lines: Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge
Right hand spaces: each spells out FACE
Left hand lines: Green Balloons Don’t Fly Away
Left hand spaces: All Cows Eat Grass

At home

Nelly should work on the C scale as her warm-up and play Con Brio next. If she starts to get bored, she can take a look at Hungarian Dance. She should play for 5 minutes every day!

Zoe

Zoe showed me she’d learned some extra songs over March break, which was really awesome! She showed them to me and we dove into learning Wendy the Whale. I played the keys and Zoe put her hand underneath on the keys so that she could feel how the piece should go. She started to direct me to where my fingers should go! We also looked at the next song Magic Tree House, since she was very enthusiastic and wanted to do more over the week.

We also did some rhythm games. I played some notes on the piano while Zoe closed her eyes and asked I asked her if I was playing the same note or different notes. She did really well with this as well!

At home

Zoe can review Wendy the Whale and Magic Tree House. An adult should sit with her as she practices to make sure she is playing with the correct hand (the song will sound very different if it’s played with the wrong hand!) She should play for 5 minutes every day!

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