Thanks for another great week of classes everyone!
For our 5-finger warmup this week try it in G position! (This means LH finger 5 – pinky – will be on G, and RH finger 1 – thumb – will be on G) instead of the usual C position. Remember to connect as much as possible between the notes.
We have a new book! Today we learned about quarter notes (the ones that are filled in), which get 1 count, and half notes (the ones that are not filled in) which get 2 counts. The song to practice is The I Like Song. Notice that RH and LH fingers 2, 3, and 4 are on the groups of 3 black keys. When reading this piece, play with the written finger numbers, but out loud say the counting (1 or 1-2 depending on the type of note), not the finger numbers.
You still may absolutely practice Frère Jacques and Row, Row.
This week your theory homework is pages 30-31. An important concept we worked with is using the saying Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge to remember our treble clef (RH) line notes. The notes we play most often are the E and G (first and second lines).
Petit Minuet – This song has a new key signature. 3/4 means that there are three beats per bar, and that quarter notes get one beat. When counting remember to go back to “one” after the barline, and don’t confuse the finger numbers for the counts!
Rodeo – LH has a new note! A is on the top line of the bass staff. We had spoken about the “Cheerfully” tempo marking
at the beginning of the song – once the notes are comfortable see if you can speed this song up.
A really great tool for you to use while reading songs is the sayings for bass and treble clefs. For bass clef, we use Good Birds Don’t Fly Away for the lines and All Cows Eat Grass for the spaces. In treble clef Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge is for the lines, and FACE is for the spaces.
Oom-pah-pah – Play this song hands separately this week – LH has the melody and plays the first page all by itself! The little dots below or above the noteheads are called staccatos, and they mean play the note very short (I like to pretend the keys are hot!). Try your best to play the staccatos as you read the melody. Also a reminder that when notes go from space to space or line to line we are skipping.
For our lesson next week, please have the PDFs of the jazz songs printed out so we can begin working on them.
Foggy Beach – All your notes and counts are solid, we just need to work on making transitions between bars more fluid. What will help with this is going a little slower and looking ahead. The 9/8 bars have a rit. so you can feel out the rest in a similar way to the fermata at the end of the piece – it’s more for dramatic effect than exact counting.
Sherlock Holmes – Try out the finger number changes we penciled in today – it should feel more intuitive, but if you find they’re tripping you up more than the originals after you’ve tried it a few times feel free to just play whatever is most comfortable. Try playing RH by itself and focus on those staccatos! There is a habit of elongating beats 2 and 4 when all four quarter notes should be equally short.
Sneaky Sam – As usual when a song is new you may go hands separately, however in this piece bars 17-20 and 31 to the end make much more sense if the hands play together. This song is in the key of D minor. The way we find this out is by looking at what we call the key signature (in this piece it’s the one Bb at the start of each line). If a key signature has flats, we start on C and move down in 5ths – one jump for each flat. Since Sneaky Sam has only one flat, we go down a 5th from C just once, which brings us to F. Now, this F only accounts for the major key option, but there is always a minor key option as well. To find the relative minor (the minor that shares the same key signature), go down 3 semitones from the F. This brings us to D. Therefore, this song may be in either F major or D minor. This is the point where we play the music and use our ears to determine whether there is more of a pull to a major or minor sound. Another helpful hint is looking at the end note/chord. It will usually be our home key, or our “1”.