This week, Vivienne forgot her music, warm up handouts, and homework notebook. This was not a problem, since I had my books we could use instead, however it would be ideal for Vivienne to have her copies with her. Last week, I also gave Vivienne her report. If you haven’t seen it already, please ask Vivienne to show it to you.
Warm Ups: “Rocking” and “In a Swing.”
Please download the file from this link and print it at home for Vivienne to use. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1CqaK9iJ5Y7dDhfdWIxdGhWbFk/view?usp=sharing
As I mentioned in the report, I would love for Vivienne to buy this warm up book for next year if she decides to continue lessons with me (which I hope she does!) It is very easy to lose photocopies, and we will be using the book for quite some time. After we learn all the warm ups in the book in the key of C, I want Vivienne to begin learning about the different keys and using the warm-ups to help facilitate that. The book can be found here!
The Haunted Harp: Vivienne is sounding more and more confident with this piece every week! I want Vivienne to always count out loud while playing this piece to make sure she’s holding the half notes and dotted half notes for the necessary amount of time.
Vivienne also needs to pay attention to the register of the piece as well. While she is playing all the right notes, she sometimes plays them in different registers. Where the notes are written on the staff indicates where on the keyboard they should be played. This is something we will continue to review in the lessons to come.
One suggestion I made to Vivienne in the lesson is that she could cross her right hand over her left, followed by her left hand under her right in the second line where the melody begins falling downwards on the keyboard. This helps keep things nice and smooth, as well as being more comfortable!
Warm Up: A Dozen a Day Group III, “Jumping Over a Bench,” “Jumping off a Big Box,” and “Fit as a Fiddle.” During the lesson, we only had a chance to look at “Jumping over a bench,” as Chantal was very distracted. I’m trusting her to try out the other two on her own and am very confident she will be able to play them!
In “Jumping Over a Bench,” Chantal needs to hold the whole note C and E with her right hand, while her left plays the G in the treble clef. This requires Chantal’s left hand to “jump over” her right. Then the left hand plays the G in the bass clef.
In her book, Chantal learned about the slur. The slur is a line that is written under a group of notes. It means to play the notes smooth and connected. For this week, I want Chantal to practice this concept with the song “Little River.”
- Chantal should always have both hands on the keyboard ready to play.
- Chantal’s fingers should be curved on the keyboard, with her wrist up.
- When her other fingers aren’t playing notes, they should be close to the keyboard. Imagine if the keyboard was sticky, and your fingers can’t move away from it! Her fingers shouldn’t be up in the air when they’re not playing. This will be an important good habit moving onward as her songs get more difficult.
As a fun experiment, write in the “practice log” at the top of your homework sheet every day you practice this week. Include the amount of time you spend (approximately). Like I mentioned in the lesson, I’m just interested in seeing your practice patterns.
Warm Up: Double 3rds in D major, legato and staccato. Continue to play these at the slower tempo. They will speed up in time once things get more comfortable!
Continue working on the dominant 7 in F and A. Add the dominant 7 of C as well.
Dragonfly Scherzo: Continue to play this nice and slowly. Think about what you consider a slow tempo, and go slower! Usually as musicians we go faster than we intend to, so setting an even slower tempo will help you from going too fast. I liked that I could hear the dynamic contrast as you played, but you can add even more! Make the differences between loud and soft more extreme.
Sunset in Rio: Great tempo! Continue to play the piece as this slower tempo with your strong fingers. Play with a metronome on this piece at least two or three times per practice session. My suggested tempo is 84. As I mentioned last week, consider using the metronome with headphones (but don’t have the volume too high!) so that you can really feel and hear the beat.
Both Dragonfly and Sunset just need some good slow practice. All the notes are there, we just want to help build the muscle memory so that when we speed them up, we can keep the same precision!
Hakuna Matata: Great progress on this piece! Page 6 is sounding really nice and comfortable! This week, review page 6 to keep yourself familiar with it.
Start to work on page 7. Start by practicing each line hands separately and counting out loud. Play both hands separate at least three to four times! Then, try to play with your hands together for that one line. After, proceed to the next and continue in the same manner. Don’t try to play one line after the other just yet! Stick to breaking down the page line by line. Then, once each line is comfortable separately, we will try to string them together (but that’s a task for next week!).
This week, we reviewed recognizing a major 2nd and minor 2nd interval. Here are the songs you can associate with these two to remember them better.
Major 2nd – Happy Birthday
Minor 2nd – Jaws theme
Take a look at the pieces in list A and B and pick one to learn next!
Warm Up: Review Group II from Dozen a Day, exercises 1-6. Remind Zoe to use strong fingers and try to play them all one after the other! She can take her time as she plays. She will gradually speed these up if she practices regularly.
When playing her warm-ups, Zoe should have both hands ready to play on the keyboard, even if one doesn’t come into the warm-up until later!
In the lesson, we’ve also been trying to play Zoe’s 5-finger C scale while keeping our fingers close to the keys. This is something you can ask Zoe to do as she practices. Imagine that the keyboard is sticky, and it’s hard to lift your fingers from it! Remind Zoe to keep her wrist up as she plays the C scale as well.
Twinkle Twinkle and its Variations (1 and 2): Remind Zoe to count out loud, and hold the half notes for their whole duration! Ask Zoe to point out to you where the hands play together in the songs. She can even circle them or colour them in to make them stand out visually.
This is the last few pages of her current book! Next week, we will need the next level book (Level C). If it’s not possible to get the book for next week, don’t worry! I have my own books we can use in the meantime.