Thank you for a wonderful first day! I really enjoyed meeting all of you and hearing what you’ve been working on.
I would love to meet/chat with one of your parents next lesson; we can discuss new book options as well as sending me photos of the pieces in your current book that you haven’t yet played.
We will add a quick warmup before your practice routine – C major and F major triads and inversions (hands separately). With RH, we use fingers 1, 3, 5 for all except 1st inversion which is 1, 2, 5. LH uses fingers 5, 3, 1 for all except 2nd inversion which is 5, 2, 1.
Cool Walkin’ Bass – Let’s gradually work on speeding this song up. Your swinging eighths are feeling good, and it’ll groove even more at the quicker tempo. The piece suggests 108bpm and we are currently playing it around 70bpm. See if you can find a metronome or a metronome app to help you gradually increase your tempo (I’d suggest 5bpm increments).
We still start adding a quick warmup to the beginning of your practice routine: this week use page 38 as a guide and play D natural, harmonic, and melodic minor hands separately 1 octave.
Scarborough fair – When practicing this piece take it hands separately at the start (once through left hand, once through right hand) before putting the hands together. The speed you start at should be slower, and one that you can maintain for the entire piece without having to hesitate too much on trickier bars. Be careful with your ending (the 8va means one octave up, and your last note is long, not staccato!).
Intermezzo – Let’s only play the Allegro section this week since there is so much good stuff to focus on here. Allegro means “fast”, so work towards getting the first line nice and quick. Then – as you pointed out – the second line is slower. There should be a big contrast between the first and second lines not only because of the speed but also the dynamics – work on exaggerating the difference. Your staccatos are quite good for the most part, just go ahead and play bars 3 and 6 a few times by themselves to get comfortable with RH being legato while LH has staccatos.
Hound Dog – Keep this one hands separately for now and really focus on RH’s rhythm. Practice by playing while counting with “ands” like we did in our lesson – this will really help when you have lots of eighth notes and rests!
We will add a warmup at the beginning of your practice routine; this week let’s do the G major scale (2 octaves hands separately) and the G major triads (one octave hands separately).
Für Elise – This piece is divided into three major sections – you are most comfortable with the first section, so let’s add pedal there. For all LH parts where you have an octave then a cross over, keep your thumb on its side and tuck finger 3 over so we don’t do a crazy twist with your thumb standing up! I suggest taking the second section hands separately for a bit to really solidify those parts. The third section you can still keep hands together, just double check each note in those chords/shapes in the RH
In Church – Keep working on note learning and putting the second half of the piece hands together. Be careful with your LH wrist since it seems to like coming up when you play your chords – aim to have it in line with the rest of your arm (RH is already doing a good job at this).
We will add a short warmup before you jump into practicing your pieces – this should only take a minute or two. One hand at a time in C position walk up and down the 5 note scale. Remember to keep your fingers bent and avoid flat fingers.
Grandmother – Right off the bat notice if your notes are moving up or down (hint: in this piece we mainly move down). Take bar 5 and play it a few times by itself before playing the whole song since this is the hardest bar; we need LH to hold both C and G for the full 4 beats while RH plays its melody
Lemonade Stand – We can tell if we are moving in skips because notes will go line to line or space to space. Try to memorize that your first space in treble clef is F. With tied notes we don’t play the second note in the pair; instead just keep holding (in this song our tied notes are equal to 6 beats).
We will add a warmup at the beginning of your practice routine – this should only take 3-5 minutes. This week we will do the D major scale one octave hands separately. Remember that this scale has both F# and C#. Fingering for RH is 1-2-3-1-2-3-4-5 going up, and LH is 5-4-3-2-1-3-2-1. When crossing with thumb, tuck under; when crossing with 3, go over.
Pirates of the North Sea – When playing this piece please count out loud with “ands” like we did in lessons – this will fix any rhythm discrepancies between eighth notes, quarter notes, and half notes. Most of your staccatos are well done, but there are a few that regularly get missed (the beat 3 A in bars 7, 11, 15, and 19!) so just pay extra attention to articulation.
The Queen’s Royal Entrance – Again with this piece the notes are quite confident but rhythms need a bit more work, so try counting (with “ands” when there are eighth notes) out loud while you play. Watch out that your LH triads are often whole notes that need to be held even when RH plays its half notes. Practice bars 3, 7, 19, and 23 by themselves a few times before playing through the whole song – LH needs to be just as staccato as RH, and all four quarter notes should be nice and even.