Warm Up: “Fit as a Fiddle and Ready to Go.” Make sure that Vivienne practices this hands separately at least three times before playing it hands together at the beginning of each practice session. This will ensure she feels totally confident in both parts before putting them together. Playing hands together is quite different from playing hands separately and if she feels totally confident in playing hands separately, it eliminates some room for error when the hands are played together.
Ode to Joy: Make sure Vivienne practices the left hand of this piece and focuses on it this week. Her right hand is quite solid and I would like the left hand to be equally so. Once her left hand is solid on its own, we will work towards adding both hands together.
If she has trouble with the C#-G interval in the left hand, ask Vivienne to play the C# with her pinky and keep it held down, and then add G with her thumb. This exercise can be repeated as many times as possible until she feels comfortable stretching for this interval. This piece is in D major and it is very important she remember the key signature while practicing this piece (F# and C#).
Vivienne should be practicing every day for fifteen minutes. I suggest practicing after school, or as soon as one of her parents is home from work to ensure her mind is still fresh and she isn’t too tired.
Warm Up: “Walking in a Puddle of Water with Rain Boots.” This warm up is a bit more tricky than the previous ones, as it involves playing harmonic intervals. She can practice it hands separately twice before playing hands together.
Repertoire Songs: “Russian Folk Song” and “Come See the Parade.”
- In both her repertoire songs and her warm up, make sure that Chantal is counting out loud. This will ensure her rhythm is steady and she doesn’t rush through longer notes, like half notes or whole notes.
- Remind Chantal to have both of her hands ready to play at the start of her piece. For example, if her left hand comes in several bars into the song, her hand should still be near the starting note of that line. This helps because she won’t hesitate in between sections to place her hand in the right spot: it will already be there!
- Continue to ask Chantal what the starting note is for both of her hands in each piece.
Warm Up: Double thirds, ascending and descending, legato and staccato.
D melodic minor formula pattern. Start this by practicing the regular melodic minor to familiarize yourself with the notes before trying the formula pattern. Do this every time you practice.
The Avalanche: Nice dramatic dynamics! This is the last week we will work on this piece before setting it aside for the time being. Practice with a metronome to ensure an even and regulated tempo. Practice it twice at 92 before playing it up to tempo. Do this every day!
March in D: Practice this with a metronome at quarter note = 80. Focus on the slower tempo to ensure accuracy and comfort. Once it is totally comfortable at the slow tempo, speeding it up will be less challenging and also more precise (although there may still be errors, practicing in this way will eliminate many possibilities for error).
Hakuna Matata: Focus on page three in the section “when he was a young warthog.” Practice this hands separately, one measure at a time. Then, play hands together, one measure at a time. Slowly add measures together, similar to the “dove tail” method we practiced last week in The Avalanche. To recap: this means playing one measure hands together, and then repeating that measure while then adding the measure after that. Once that feels comfortable, repeat those two measures and then add the next measure. And so on…
Think about what pieces you may want to learn next in your repertoire or study book, or what style of piece you may want to try.
This coming lesson will be the last before the recital. Let’s make “Little Lost Kitty a Priority” this week. Keep counting out loud with Zoe as she plays, and if possible play the duet part with her. She can also practice bowing (remember to say “hippopotamus” in your head as you bow!)
Some other materials Zoe can work on this week are:
Memorize “Mozart’s Musical Patterns.” There is an activity in her book that involves this exercise in which memory is key!
Ride the “A” train – this song introduces A on the musical staff.
Tooth Fairy – Make sure Zoe is counting out loud, especially on the longer notes like half notes and whole notes. It’s important to not rush through these, even though they might be less exciting than the faster quarter notes!
Some other practicing hints:
- Remind Zoe to have both of her hands ready to play at the start of her piece. For example, if her left hand comes in several bars into the song, her hand should still be near the starting note of that line. This helps because she won’t hesitate in between sections to place her hand in the right spot: it will already be there!
- Continue to ask Zoe what the starting note is for both of her hands in each piece, as well as what hand the piece begins on.