Thanks for another great round of lessons this week everyone!
This week there is a new note to do the scavenger hunt for! The letter D comes right after C and can be found in the middle of the group of 2 black keys.
Old MacDonald Had a Song – This song uses LH on a group of 2 black keys and RH on a group of 3; watch that we go back and forth between the hands quite a few times! The double bar line with the two dots in front of it (after the “E-I-E-I-O” on the first page) means repeat. Try to also play with dynamics (f for loud and p for soft).
Balloons – We are playing on the white keys C-D-E for this song. These letter names belong around the group of 2 black keys, as you’ve circled above the song, so double check you’re in the right spot with the fingers.
Please feel free to still play some of the previous songs in the book (like the I Like Song or I Hear the Echo) for fun!
Please complete page 34-35 in your theory book for next class. You had mentioned composing a song, which I think is a great idea! Use all the notes we’ve learned so far: C-D-E-F-G in the RH and C-B-A-G in the LH.
Hey, Hey, Look at Me – Let’s treat this as a warmup song – play it through just once before practicing your other pieces. Note that skips move from line to line. Still use Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge to double check the treble clef line notes.
Come See the Parade – Your thumbs share middle C in this song, but they never play at the same time. Double check which clef the middle C is in, and use the correct hand based on that. As with other songs, start by singing the counting but then you can move on to the lyrics. When singing lyrics do your best to say the counts in your head for long notes instead of interrupting the lyric to say “2-3…” etc.
Allegro – Bars 1-2 and 5-6 have LH and RH playing together on beat one, and then LH holding the whole note for the entire bar while RH plays its other notes. This song is mainly skips, but look out for the few sneaky steps in there!
This week we have a new song, The Clown. Try breaking it down into four 2-bar chunks. We have flats in this piece! When making a note flat we go one semitone down from the white key. So Bb is the top note in the group of 3 black keys, and Ab is the middle note in the group of 3 black keys. When stepping up from Bb, careful that you go all the way to C and not to B natural; there are actually no B naturals in this entire piece. Something to notice is LH’s pattern in bars 1-2 and 5-6: it’s always skip down, step up, skip down, step up. In the last 2 bars the hands play together, but if this proves too tricky let’s just do hands separately this week.
Please also still work on memorizing the sayings and remembering which ones are for which clef! Something I use to help me remember is that bass clef (where LH plays) has the sayings about animals.
Today we talked about time signatures: in our piano pieces this week you will see a 4/4 written in the first bar. What this means is there are 4 beats per bar, and that quarter notes get 1 beat.
The Dance Band – Just as a review, the LH note on the 4th line is an F. One way to remember this is that the bass clef is sometimes called the F clef – those two little dots surround the F line. This piece uses all the notes we’ve learned so far. A bonus thing to try is saying each letter name as you play it!
Frogs on Logs – This song has us playing in a few different positions. It’s important that any finger can play any note, so watch those finger numbers labelled in the book! Whenever you have a position shift the finger number will be circled.
Stitches – Try singing the verse and pre-chorus in the air (without the video in the background) just by giving yourself your starting notes. Remember, it’s the top note of the group of 3 black keys; the one above middle C is for the verse, and the one below middle C is for the pre-chorus. You can play the note every two lines to reinforce the pitch. Really make sure you’re getting low enough in the pre-chorus! After doing this exercise still sing with the recording, and maybe try going into the second verse.
The new vocal song we chose will be Lose You to Love Me by Selena Gomez – just start listening to it to get a feel for the melody and form.
As a type of warm up this week play through the 4-note chords belonging to C major (starting on Cmaj7 and moving up in steps). Try naming each chord as you play it. Remember that “maj” in the chord name refers to the 7th, and “-” in the chord name refers to the 3rd. If we see neither of these symbols (so for example G7) it means the default major 3rd and flat 7.
Sneaky Sam – Let’s focus on just this piece from your repertoire book this week. All notes, rhythms, and articulations are solid so the last step is adding speed. However, we can’t play a couple of lines fast and the next two slower – it should all be one consistent tempo. If you can use the metronome while practicing that would be great! Start around 120bpm and inch it up 3bpm at a time.
What a Wonderful World – For the most part, all of these chords come from the key of C major (like our warmup) – even B-7b5 is just the 7th chord in the scale. The only ones that are not in the scale are E7, Abmaj7, F7, and A7. A cool thing to notice is that from A-7 to Abmaj7 only 2 notes change (A and E move to Ab and Eb). Try adding LH on single bass notes as you play through the piece, and please ignore the coda!