Very good progress everyone! I always give bronze awards in the fall because I want to see how much more you can grow – based on your progress, that will determine your award in the springtime. Everyone is doing very well – just remember that a little bit of practice every day (even just 15 minutes) is better than practicing one hour once a week. It’s really important to do just a bit daily because that’s just how our brain works and remembers information.
Also, if anyone has not yet signed up for a recital slot on December 3rd (a Sunday), please call Barnaby. The slots begin at 12, 1, and 2 – they each last about 45 minutes.
I really appreciate your enthusiasm for the recitals – You were born to be on stage! Your recital pieces are “Paper Airplanes” and “The Juggler”. You know both pieces so well – almost too well! What I mean by that is that they are so easy for you now, that you play the easier parts faster. Keep the same tempo throughout the same piece – remember to keep practicing by counting 1-2-3-4 while you play. Of course don’t do that during the recital, but it will be a good way to practice to make sure you are not rushing. Your new piece is “Traffic Jam”. We learned what intervals are – they are the distance between two notes. This piece taught us the interval of the “2nd”. Those are two notes next to each other like C-D or D-E – basically they are not skips, they are all steps. We’ll talk more about that next time but for the next week, we can focus on your recital pieces which are in very good shape!
Your goal this week is to practice every day! Every time we work on a piece in your lesson, it always sounds significantly better after just 5 minutes. Imagine what doing just 15-20 minutes a day will do (ideally, at least 30 minutes would be great, but 15-20 is still better than nothing!). Since we’re doing “The Planets” for the recital, it’s important that you practice that a few times daily to get rid of the hiccups. You wanted an “airy, dreamy” mood, so playing soft, using the pedal, and also a slower tempo will help you with that. Also work on “Carol in G Major” (the position will need both 5s on the G) – and also play it in C Major (both 5s go on the C).
I’d like to go through the songs in the book a bit more quickly – in order for that to happen, I will need to see more daily practice. You are such a natural at the piano, so I want to see how much more you can do and I’m sure it would be more fun for you too!
You should be excited for your first piano recital, because you sound great! In “Old MacDonald”, the hard part is going from the first part of the piece, to the “quack quack” and also going from the “quack quack” back to the first part. Counting and playing really helped you with this section. Remember to only do that in practice – in the performance you will not be counting out loud, so play it a few times without counting or saying the note names as well. “Sailing” was very good. Keep working on “Skating” and “Wishing Well” – those were both very good, but we just need to get rid of the hiccups. After the recital, we will continue in the book and will start with note reading!
Excellent job with “When the Saints go Marching In” – just have confidence when you play because it sounds very good! The third and fourth line can still use a little bit of hands separate practicing – just make sure that this part is just as comfortable as the first part. Good job with “Join the Fun” as well – put most of your focus in measures 7-8 and 15-16 as those are the tricky spots for you – for this piece and “Oom Papa”, hands separate practice will help you a lot. Your new piece this week is “The Clown” – focus on the B-flats and the A-flats (flat = bemol) because it will take a bit of time for your hand to get used to that position. The dynamics will help make a difference between “glad clown” and “Sad clown”. But for this week, let’s focus most on “When the Saints Go Marching In” so that you are extra confident for the recital.
It’s great that you have three pieces that you could play for the recital! Practice all three of them and we can decide next week – they all sound great! For “Magic Man”, the important thing to remember is RHYTHM! Every day, I want you to clap the rhythm of the left hand in the beginning. Also, when the right hand comes in, don’t go to fast. A good way to practice is to count 1-2-3-4 when you play just the right hand by itself. “The Clown” is also good – just don’t get faster. You can also count and play this one for practice – when you did that, you were not rushing at all. The third option for the recital is “Waltz Time”. Two things to remember about this piece – the left hand has the melody so you must play the left hand louder than the right hand; the second thing is legato vs. staccato – left hand is legato and should be smooth, and the right hand has the short staccato notes.
Your new piece is “Good King Wenceslas” – you already have three pieces to practice for your recital, so if that keeps you busy, that’s totally fine. If you have time, keep working on this new piece. Hands separate practice is important and also remember the difference between legato and staccato.