Anna

In the lesson, we first reviewed right sitting position while playing at the piano. To review, this means:

  • Sit at the edge of the bench (but not so close to the edge you’ll fall off)
  • Keep shoulders rolled back
  • Keep back straight

We also reviewed the hand position for playing. The most important thing is for Anna to keep her fingers curved, and her wrist arched.

We then began with a warm-up of the five-finger C major scale, hands separate. I asked Anna to try and keep her fingers close to the keys, even when they weren’t playing. We then tried the scale, but using “strong fingers,” which means to put weight the fingers while pressing each key. This will help strengthen finger and hand muscles!

We then looked at “Viennese Waltz” in her repertoire book. The beginning of the piece was quite comfortable, but the middle lines were more challenging. In the lesson, I showed Anna how she could tackle tricky parts.

  • First, we started off by playing a couple of measures before the difficult part.
  • Once we established the notes and rhythm, I then asked Anna to play one note into the next measure of the piece (the beginning of the difficult part). We repeated this several times.
  • Then, I asked Anna to play the two measures again, but this time adding on the next complete measure.
  • We continued this process until we’d added four new bars onto the two she already had a good handle on.
  • This technique for practice is called “dovetailing.”

At home I want Anna to practice Viennese Waltz hands separately first, counting out loud. Then, she can try to play the piece hands together, counting out loud again.

If she runs into difficulty, she can use the dovetailing technique we worked on today. I will continue review this with her in the coming weeks.

This week, Anna should practice for 20 minutes each day.

Sacha

This week, we started by doing some light stretching to relax the arms, hands, and legs. I then asked Sacha to give me a description of his experience with piano, what books he was working on, and what sorts of things he wanted to accomplish in piano this year.

We then reviewed the sitting position for piano, as well as the hand position. The most important thing to remember while playing is to keep the fingers curved over the keys. Even when the fingers aren’t playing the notes, the fingers need to be close to the keys!

We worked on a warm-up of the C scale hands separately, while trying to keep fingers close to the keys. We also tried the scales while using “strong fingers.” This means to put weight the fingers while pressing each key. This will help strengthen finger and hand muscles!

We began to look at “Enchanted City” in his repertoire book. We reviewed how to count when there are eighth notes in the rhythm (“one and two and three and four and”). We also reviewed that the numbers on top of the staff in sheet music mean suggested fingerings. Usually these are left behind by the composer to help the student play the piece as smoothly and comfortably as possible.

This week, I want Sacha to practice for 20 minutes every day.

He should begin by playing the C major scale like we did in the lesson.

When learning “Enchanted City,” I want Sacha to only practice hands separately. I want him to try to play with the suggested fingerings and always count out loud like we did in the lesson. He can also practice with all the repeats. Repetition in general helps with learning!

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