In the lesson, we started by doing some stretches to use up some excess energy. We then did a little bit of ear training. I played some notes and asked Rachel if they were all different notes or the same note. I also asked her to tell me if the music was ascending or descending.
We then reviewed the assignment from last week: “Magic Tree House” and then looked at the next song “Cuckoo Clock.”
This week, I want Rachel to review “Cuckoo Clock” with her mom or dad. The song asks the student to play fingers 2 and 3 at the same time. It alternates between the left and right hand. On the second page, both hands play at the same time. If someone can remind Rachel which hand to use as she’s playing, that would be very helpful. She is not comfortable yet on reading the page and playing at the same time, so having someone sit with her and help her would be really beneficial!
Rachel should play piano for five minutes each day. I’d like Rachel to play the assigned song two times a day. Then, she can play whatever she’d like for the remaining time!
In the lesson, we started by doing some stretches to use up some excess energy. We then reviewed “Birthday Train,” the assignment from the last time.
This week, we learned “My C Scale” in the left hand and the right hand. As Chloe plays it this week, I want her to remember to keep her fingers curled over the keys in a claw-like shape. She should also keep her wrist up, to make a tunnel for an imaginary train rolling along the keyboard.
We also looked at “Bed on a Boat.” When playing this piece I want Chloe to remember her hand and wrist position too! Once she is really comfortable with the notes, she should spend more time on her hand and wrist position.
Chloe should try to practice for 10 minutes every day!
Warm-Up: This week, we first reviewed the warm-ups from last week “Running” and “In a Swing.” She was a bit hesitant about some of the notes, so we spent some time going over the exercises together. This week, I’d like Chantal to review this at home this week to make sure she’s really confident playing them by herself.
The Lonely Pine: Chantal was unsure about some of the notes and rests, so we took some time to review them in the lesson. The concept of playing two hands at the same time is still fairly new, so it may take some time for Chantal to feel really confident in playing this way. But I’d like to Chantal work on this song for one more week before moving on to the next song.
Playing a little every day will really help Chantal remember how to play the songs and warm-ups and feel really confident in playing them alone. I suggest she practice for 10-15 minutes every day.
Warm-Ups: Double 3rds in C and D major. A dominant 7th chord, solid and broken.
For playing both, use your strong fingers. Try to keep your “attack” on the notes nice and crisp so that the notes don’t sound “blurry.” If you need to, spend some time working on one hand by itself to clean it up a bit musically.
Menuet in E major: Review 1st section hands together to keep it in your mind. Work on the bracketed part hands together. To practice this part, follow these guidelines:
- review the section hands separately first
- stop and fix problem areas as you see them pop up
- after doing this, start to play hands together
- stop and fix problem areas as you see them pop up. You may need to practice specific areas hands separately again, or even just really slowly hands together. Use your own judgement to determine which approach is better for the area you are working on.
Dragonfly Scherzo: continue your slow practice on this one to make things more confident and comfortable. If it starts to feel really comfortable towards the end of the week, you can try to speed it up a bit.
Ivean Polkka – Work on keeping your wrist nice and loose as you play, especially in the left hand. You want to put your whole body into playing the piece and move with your hands and arms as you play. This helps keep everything in your body nice and loose, and it also helps you really feel the music! Keeping things loose will also help prevent wrist injuries in the future.
Start to think about dynamics for this piece and pencil some in!
Warm-Up: After doing some stretching, we reviewed the warm-ups from last week, #7-9. Then, we took a look at this week’s assignment, exercises #10-12.
We then took a look at “Tchaikovsky’s Waltz.” Zoe remembered how a waltz sounds and even recalled it back to a previous song: the Cinderella Waltz! She was also able to tell me how to play the 3/4 time signature! This week, I want her to practice this song, taking special care to make the right hand nice and loud, while making the left hand soft.
As we had a little extra time at the end of the lesson, we reviewed some musical terms like note names, clef names, and parts of the staff.
When Zoe is practicing this week, she should always be attentive of her hand and wrist position. Remind Zoe to make her hand look claw-like, and to keep her fingers close to the keys as she’s playing! She should try to play for 15 minutes every day.
This week, we started by reviewing all of the concepts we learned last week. We especially highlighted how to play the notes of a longer length. To review, if a note is 2 beats long, Zoe needs to hold the key down and count to two.
The note values are:
- black notes with a stem are equal to 1 beat
- white notes with a stem are equal to 2 beats
- white notes with NO stem are equal to 4 beats
We reviewed the hand position and the right way to sit on the piano bench. We also reviewed where middle C is.
We then ran through the songs we looked at last week, “Popcorn,” “Hop and Stop,” “Sleep,” and “On the Bus.” Zoe played everything really well! We worked a little bit more on how to play longer notes as well.
We then learned about a new note: B! B is the white note to the left of middle C. It is to always be played with the left hand. If Zoe ever gets confused about how to read B on the staff, there’s a helpful picture on the page that shows you where B is placed on the staff.
This week, I want Zoe to work on the following songs: The Rain, Leaves, Boat Song, The Drum, and In a Hammock. All the songs are very short and won’t take long to review a little every day. We will also review them in the lesson next week.
Until Zoe can get the book herself, here’s scans of those two pages, which you can print at home.
Zoe should try to play piano 10 minutes every day.
Warm-Ups: Double 3rds hands together. As you play these, pay attention to your hands and fingers. Try to keep your 4th and 5th fingers curled over the keys! Always keep your wrist slightly elevated over the keys too. Imagine your wrist is a tunnel and a little train is trying to pass underneath.
Lied – Add in ornaments this week. Here are some suggestions for practicing ornaments
- play hands separately with the ornament before trying hands together
- isolate ornaments (just play specific sections that have them)
- practice left hand enough that it becomes second nature, and you can focus more on playing the ornament
Make sure to review page 3 and spend some time doing slow practice on it. It just needs a little more love to be more comfortable and accurate!
Sunset in Rio: try to use the metronome to keep the tempo the same throughout
- try to play small sections (1 line) with the metronome
- set metronome to a tempo from 112 to 120.
- after you play separate sections, try playing the whole thing with the metronome.
Sonatina: Continue to work on bar 45-end nice and slowly. It also needs a little more love to be more comfortable and accurate!
You can start to speed up the first section and add dynamics. Feel free to pencil in some cresc and decresc where you think is appropriate!