Note to all: This image is especially helpful in showing which position the hands should be in while playing the piano.
On page 46-47, there are rhythms using the half note and quarter note together. Chloe and I have been reviewing these rhythms in our lessons, and she can continue to do this at home as well. To refresh: a half note is equal to two beats. The quarter note is equal to one.
In addition, Chloe and I looked at “Raccoon Lullaby” together. This song uses different notes than in the previous few songs. There is a diagram on the page showing where her fingers should be positioned to play the piece in case she forgets where they go.
While Chloe is playing the piano, make sure her fingers are curved on the keyboard. Refer to the image above so she has a visual as to how the hand should look.
The book is designed to gradually become more difficult as the student learns more concepts about music. It’s very important Chloe practice for five to ten minutes each day so that she becomes comfortable with the concepts she learned this week. That way, when we learn something new, she isn’t overwhelmed.
In the lesson, we started to work on interval recognition, which is part of the ear test portion of the RCM exam. To review, the intervals we looked at were major 3rd, minor 3rd, and perfect 5th. A good way to remember these intervals is by attaching them to familiar songs.
Major 3rd – “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow,” “Oh When the Saints Go Marching In”
Minor 3rd – First interval of “O Canada”
Perfect 5th – First two notes of “Star Wars” main titles.
Warm Ups: Double 3rds, ascending and descending.
A minor arpeggios – continue to work on these nice and slowly, keeping your hands relaxed. Practice hands separately and together.
Sunset in Rio: Focus especially on bars 13-22 so that you can play this section at the same tempo as the rest of the piece. Alternately, slow down the rest of the piece so that when you get to 13-22, that section is the same tempo as everything else.
Start thinking about the dynamics in this piece. Really exaggerate them, making the fortes really loud and the pianos really quiet. Contrast these extremes as much as possible, as the piece doesn’t get quieter than piano or louder than forte.
Isolate the diminuendos, thinking about the goal dynamic at the end of the diminuendo. Then look at what dynamic the piece is at before the diminuendo. Work towards a gradual transition between these dynamics.
Practice with strong and slow fingers before playing the piece at a faster speed with lighter fingers.
Hakuna Matata – continue working on this with last week’s assignment, as we didn’t have time to get to it last lesson.
Warm Up: Zoe should play through all of Group I in the Dozen a Day book every day, now that she’s learned them all. She should play the exercises one after the other before looking at her pieces. The more times she goes over these exercises, the quicker she will play through them and the smoother they will be!
Songs: Zoe should review “Scotland Bells,” and be aware of the new note we learnt with this piece: F in the bass clef! Ask her to tell you the phrase to remember the lines on the bass clef staff (it’s “Good Bears Deserve Fish Always”).
In addition, she can take a look at “I Would Like to Go to Mars.” In this piece, we’re introduced to a new dynamic “mf” (mezzo forte). That means to play the notes at a moderate loudness. You can ask Zoe to play you a note in forte, piano, and then mezzo forte, so that she can be reminded of how loud the dynamic needs to be.
Zoe should always have both hands ready to play, even if one hand comes in later than another hand. She still sometimes puts her inactive hand down on the bench, and so it takes a little longer to transition from one hand to the other. Keeping both hands ready to play will create smooth transitions throughout!