Hello everyone! We are having a bit of a technique focused week :D Lovely to see you all again!

Fiona

You’re working on two-note slurs. Start by dropping onto middle C using your arm weight on finger 3, and then float off the next note (D) using finger 4. Say “down-up” for each note. This is what your wrist is doing – dropping your arm weight onto the first note, and then floating off the second note. Repeat this pattern up the white notes (drop onto D, float off of E for example). For the LH, simply do it in the other direction – down onto finger 3 (C), then float off of finger 4 (B).

The pieces you’re doing this week are reviewing Lil Liza Jane hands together and the first 8 measures of Mozart’s 5 Names. The first two measures the hands play the same notes – this is called “parallel motion”. Measures 3-4 the RH plays alone. Same pattern for the next 4 bars, but at the end of measure 8 you get to play two notes at once! They are C and E. Practice playing notes that distance apart (a 3rd) with fingers 1 and 3 all around the keyboard. They should both sound at the same time so the listener wouldn’t even know two notes have been played. Practice this until you can consistently get them to hide behind one another and make only one sound. Great work today!

How much to practice: 15 minutes daily.

How parents can support: When she is doing her two-note slurs exercise, the point is for the wrist to move freely like a balloon on a string has been tied around it. When she plays the first note, the wrist can go down (as we are using our heavy arm weight to play this note) and then the wrist loosely floats up on the second note and beyond. Fiona correctly identified that the second note will be quieter then the first. Watch for this and encourage the wrist movement, this exercise has no point if you’re just playing the notes.

Marita

You’re working on Celebration. Today we went through and worked on all the different parts of this whole song. While practicing, I would break it into chunks until you can do the chunk easily, then try combining it with another chunk. For example, work on getting measures 1-3 completely in time, then try adding measure 4 to it. Also try measures 9-11 until you can do them in time, then add measure 12 to it. A recording of the entire piece can be found here to refer to. (We will revisit the Infinity Session next week like you wanted).

You’re working on your B major scale. For RH, your thumbs will play only on the white notes. Your fingering will be 123 1234 5. For LH, this is a special scale because we start with finger 4! Our thumb still gets the other white note. Your fingering will be 4321 4321.

How much to practice: 15-20 minutes daily.

How parents can support: Encourage her to play slow enough that the transition between bars is still in time. We don’t want to train the brain to have a little coffee break everytime we need to find the next position/notes, so start slow enough that you’ll have time to move to the next position.

Sara

You’re working on the first 4 measures of Arctic Voices as well as the 3rd line. The first line features really loud “iceburg motifs” in the LH and a very distant voice swept away by the wind in the RH. Have fun with painting this landscape. The 3rd line of the piece is more straightforward notation, with lots of accidentals but lots of perfect 5ths. If you very carefully read out each note, you’ll have no problem, but some sound quite crunchy so don’t rely entirely on your ear to tell you if the notes are right! You can refer to this lovely recording to see just how much time you can take with this piece.

You’re working on your D Major Formula. Remember the sunglasses pattern of Up – Out – In – Up – Down – Out – In – Down. What’s more important than all that though, is that you’re still using your normal D major scale fingering consistently. RH is 123 1234 5. LH is 12345 123. Standard scale fingering.

How much to practice: 20-30 minutes daily.

How parents can support: Remind her to ask her friend who plays guitar if she’d be interested in a Everybody Wants to Rule the World duet in the future!

Julien

You’re working on the first 8 bars of Mozart’s Minuet and reviewing Leftover Popcorn. The most important part about the Minuet is to keep the consistent rhythm of 1, 2+3+. Imagine the people are dancing to your music and you can’t make them trip! Great job combining both hands to play this melody. In Leftover Popcorn, make sure to keep your hand in the keys (near the black notes) so that when the F# comes up, you’re prepared for it! Good job playing the legato notes and staccato notes very different, contrast is what makes it fun!

You’re working on D Major and D minor pentascales. Play these both legato and staccato. Play them loud and then soft. Play them hands seperate and hands together. Get super comfy with making them nice and even. Remember to keep your hand in so you can reach the F# without moving so much.

How much to practice: 15 minutes daily.

How parents can support: Make sure his wrists aren’t hanging way over the edge of the piano. In this position you can’t reach the black keys (and your fingers are unsupported) so  it is a habit that must be broken. A good gauge would be that a nice rounded thumb should be sitting above the white keys, not hanging off the edge of the piano flailing in the wind.

Sina

You’re working on Music Box Rock hands together and the first 8 bars of A Cowboy’s Song hands seperate. Keep your head up while playing Music Box to ensure all RH notes are accurate. For Cowboy, look at the shape of the melody, as in the direction, and ensure your notes are also being played in that direction. All the RH melodies go up to a certain point, and then come back down, before settling on a whole note. Listen for the pitches going higher as you begin each RH line. For the LH accompaniment, you correctly identified that the lower moving notes are what we want to hear, not the repetitive thumping of middle D. Practice this lilting, lazy rhythm slowly with a door handle twisting motion to keep your wrist nice and loose.

You’re working on G Major and G minor pentascales. Play these both legato and staccato. Play them loud and then soft. Play them hands seperate and hands together. Most importantly though, play them evenly.

How much to practice: 20-30 minutes daily.

How parents can support: A recording can be found here of Music Box Rock so you can get the tune in your head to ensure he is finishing each of the phrases on the correct notes. Sometimes the phrase shapes seem to get inverted so a reminder may be necessary.

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