Nice to see everyone again this week, I’m hearing lots of progress already!
We had spoken with your mom today about getting the next book in the Piano Adventures series – so the Lesson Book level 2A.
For the warmup this week, play around with the B position 5-note scale (this one’s tricky!) and see if you can play both major and minor. Remember that we always use one of each letter name in order, regardless if there are sharps or flats, so you will play B-C-D-E-F and then use your ear to figure out which notes need sharps!
Shepherd’s Song – This song is a lullaby, so please play it accordingly (slower, and softer). The “rit.” at the end means a gradual slow down, so try not to get dramatically slower all of a sudden. Please be really watchful of your counting and hold half notes and dotted half notes for their full amount.
Bongo Drum – In this piece the LH and RH are only ever playing in octaves; every 4 bars they both move to the new notes. Again, I am really stressing that counting is the priority – half notes must hold for two counts and whole notes for 4. If you hear that bars 3 and 4 sound like bars 1 and 2 double check your counting. The saying we use in the bass clef to help identify space notes is All Cows Eat Grass – so that LH space note will be C, for Cows, since it is in the 2nd space.
Let’s leave the scale warmup for now and we will revisit it another time. A theory concept we learned today is that when there is an accidental (sharp or flat) it applies to that note for the whole bar, and is only cancelled out by the next barline.
A Minuet for Mr. Bach’s Children – The notes and rhythms in this song are very solid, so to take it to the next level let’s work on making the song flow smoothly, without hesitations between the bars. What will help achieve this is starting a bit slower so you have time to think about what is coming next. The “rit” at the end means a gradual slowdown, so careful not to suddenly get much slower. A small detail that will help achieve contrast is making the staccato notes really short – let your wrist bounce a little bit to get them crisper.
Leftover Popcorn – This piece could use more attention to counting. If you start slower, you can keep a comfortable pace without rushing through the eighth notes. Remember, just because a certain bar or two are more comfortable doesn’t mean we play it faster – the whole song should be one speed, or tempo.
Mr. Brahms’ Famous Lullaby – At the beginning of this song we have what’s called a “pickup bar” which is an incomplete bar which when added to the very last bar should equal the correct number of beats. In this pickup bar we start on “3 and”, and then go to “1” after the barline. Please play this piece hands together from the get-go since the melody is in both hands.
Today we talked about major vs. minor triads. Typically we describe a major sound as happy, and a minor sound as sad. You can experiment with playing a triad and changing the middle note to achieve both sounds. You can also start listening for triads in your pieces, since they are very common!
Canon (in D) – Please pay attention to the finger numbers when you are playing this version of Canon especially. There are 2 sharps in the key signature and it will be much easier to get your finger around the phrases if you place the right finger on the starting note. Also, please notice which hand is supposed to be playing at any given time. The second page could use some extra attention – the first page is already quite solid!
Theme from Don Giovanni – Again, please follow the finger numbers since they are the easiest way to play a phrase. For now, just play hands separately as this piece is less familiar. The RH has the melody so please focus on that and the counting (LH is just accompaniment and has easier rhythms).
Please have pages 48 and 49 from your theory book completed for next week.
Frere Jacques Stands on His Head – The “Andante” at the top of the piece is a tempo marking that essentially means “moderately”, so you can actually play slower than you’ve been practicing! The slower speed will allow you to be more consistent, since ideally we want to whole piece at one tempo. A slower start ensures any bars with eighth notes will be more comfortable as well. Note in the second line the half notes come in on beat 3.
Climb up on an Elephant – Please double check which octave you are meant to be playing in! This piece has a large range. The second half could use some more attention – today we circled the spots where RH and LH come in together on the F to Bb, which are important parts. Same as last week let’s still isolate bar 19 a few times before playing the whole piece since that is the trickiest bar of the song.