Recommended minutes to practice: 15-20 minutes a day
What to practice: 5-note major warmup (from C to A position), Happy, Skipping in Space, Half-Time Show
How to practice it most effectively: For the warmup, try going up and back down this week on either “ma-ma-ma” or “da-da-da”. The trickiest position is E position: you’ll need an F# and G#. Especially as you get higher, make sure you’ve got an upright, neutral posture and you’re keeping the jaw and vowel nice and open. For Happy, do your best to only take breaths in the chorus before the “because/cause I’m happy” and not in the middle of the phrase. It will help to say “cause” instead of “because” for the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th lines. I’ll link a karaoke to try singing along with below (still keep practicing with the lyric video as well). Skipping in Space is a warmup song using FACE in the space – please make sure you’re holding your dotted half notes for the full 3 counts. The main piano song this week is Half-Time Show – this week only play hands separately. In bars 9 and 10 the articulation is a down-up movement where beat 3 is staccato.
Recommended minutes to practice: 10-15 minutes a day
What to practice: Bells of Great Britain, Come on Tigers, Princess or Monster
How to practice it most effectively: For Bells of Great Britain, please make sure you’re counting 3 beats for the dotted half notes in the first line. In the second line, the dynamics go from loud to medium to very soft at the end! The bar 7 RH C and E are tied to the notes in bar 8, which means you don’t have to replay them, just hold through. LH comes in by itself with its bar 8 notes. Come on Tigers is like a warmup song to help you feel the beats of rest. For Princess or Monster, the rests are always on beat three. Keep up the good work looking for steps versus skips. Have fun with playing in different octaves for this song (higher for the princess, lower for the monster)!
Recommended minutes to practice: 10 minutes a day
What to practice: Haunted Mouse (review), Sailing in the Sun
How to practice it most effectively: For Haunted Mouse, the final detail to add in is the dynamics – p means soft, and f means loud. When you see a dynamic letter you keep that same dynamic until you see a different instruction (so in this piece, the whole first 2 lines are soft until the “getting louder” section in line 3). For Sailing in the Sun, keep up the good work with counting and lifting for the rests. In this song, when connecting between hands you only have to hang on to the first hands’ quarter notes until the next hand plays – not a full whole note under like in Haunted Mouse.
Recommended minutes to practice: 15 minutes a day
What to practice: G major scale hands together, Yellow Bird
How to practice it most effectively: For the G major scale, do your best to start a little slower and make all notes equally long. Good work with getting each hands’ crosses. In Yellow Bird, there is a lot of syncopation, most of it being the eighth – quarter – eight – quarter quarter rhythm which occurs in both LH and RH on the first page. Do your best to say the 1+2+3+4+ counting either out loud or in your head as you play this song. For the second page, don’t forget your F# on the V7 chords – slide LH a little higher into the keys to make the reach more comfortable. On this page, the syncopated rhythm is quarter-eighth-eighth (tie) – eighth – quarter. LH can start getting accustomed to what each shape (I, IV, and V7) look and feel like.
Recommended minutes to practice: 20 minutes a day
What to practice: I’ll Be Seeing You, Pyrenese Melody, Cool Groove, preliminary look at Minuet in A Minor
How to practice it most effectively: For I’ll Be Seeing You, we spoke about how D-7b5 and A-7b5 are essentially the same shape, just on different starting notes. For the two 6 chords near the end, think of the major or minor triad plus a tone above the 5th. Alternatively, you can think of the Eb-6’s top note going a semitone down from the b7, and the Bb6’s top note going a tone down from the major 7. See if you can think of the chords in terms of numbers (1 through 7 in the major scale) as you play them this week! For Pyrenese Melody, try slowing down the LH eighth notes in bars 1, 5, and 13 so they’re a consistent speed with the rest of the piece. For Cool Groove, you can slow it down a bit to really dig into the swing feel – try looping the rhythm in bars 20-22 while saying the swung “1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and” counting. Next week we will start looking at the new piece, Minuet in A Minor.