Rebooting how I practice piano to revolve around music genres versus specific repertoire.
Alfred's Basic Keyboard Chart can help music students learn how to play the piano when they are unable to be near their instrument.
The Every Other Bar Drill has proved to be a successful drill with my students this month. Some need to clean things up, especially their notes, rhythm and fingering. Others need to make their music flow more smoothly. This drill addresses these issues. The student plays the odd numbered bars in a troublespot, while I play the even numbered bars on the melodica. Then we switch.Afterwards, when I get them to play the entire passage, the difference from their first runthrough at the lesson and the latest is like night and day.
It really doesn't matter what that second instrument is - voice, French horn, percussion. What I have been finding is that this drill really forces my students to count and "feel" the pulse. For me, this is proving to be a great way to practice "Instrument #5" - the melodica. This wind piano is a fun little instrument. It looks like I'll need to work on breath technique a bit more, though.
Special thanks to my student "S" for giving me permission to share this clip from last week's lesson.
This popped into my head while I was teaching a lesson last week. I asked my student to play her Grade 8 piano technique by going through the Circle of Fifths. Not only was it quickly evident that my student needs to review her key signatures, but it also was clear that she was used to practicing her technique in a certain order. However, during a music examination, you have no clue which of the required technical elements you will be asked to play. It is important to mix things up regularly.
In this piano lesson tutorial, I demonstrate what how my student practiced her piano technique using the Circle of Fifths approach.
My students and I started playing around with this practice drill last week. It's an accuracy drill to clean up notes, fingering and wonky timing. Try playing the left hand alone in bar 1 and then right hand alone in bar 2, etc. Check out this video for a demonstration.
This is a handy practice drill to use when you keep pausing in your song. It's best done with a small section and then you expand your work area. The video was taken last winter (hence, the Christmas hat). It goes through how to use the Fill in the Blanks Drill.
- National Anthems: one of my beginner students is a history buff. He came up with the idea of learning various national anthems throughout the summer. I helped him out with the first three. I look forward to hearing what else he tackles during the summer break.
- Video Games: Two students (siblings) are HUGE video game buffs. They both picked three video game themes to work on, which we started during the last two weeks of lessons. For the younger one, it's a huge step up in playing level. I am banking on the fact that these are some of his fave themes to motivate him to overcome some of his note-reading/coordination challenges.
|look inside||The Legend of Zelda (Easy Piano). By Koji Kondo, Kozue Ishikawa, Toru Minegishi, Kenta Nagata, Akito Nakatsuka, Asuka Ohta, Manaka Tominaga, and Hajime Wakai. For Piano. This edition: Easy Piano. Book; Piano - Easy Piano Collection; Piano Supplemental. Video Game. Easy Piano. 76 pages. Published by Alfred Music Publishing (AP.38634)...more info|
|look inside||Super Mario Series for Piano (Easy Piano). By Koji Kondo, Shiho Fujii, Asuka Ohta, Soyo Oka, Kenta Nagata, Hirokazu Tanaka, and Mahito Yokota. For Piano. This edition: Easy Piano. Book; Piano - Easy Piano Collection; Piano Supplemental. Video Game. Early Intermediate; Easy Piano; Elementary; Intermediate; Late Elementary; Late Intermediate. 76 pages. Published by Alfred Music Publishing (AP.38633) (2) ...more info|
- Composing: Some of my students enjoy composing. I've given them some info on songwriting contests to help sweeten the pot.
- Performance Sets: A couple of my recreational play students are building performance sets to play for family and friends. The one in high school has picked three pop ballads that she likes to work on. Another, who loves performing, has picked a nice selection of jazz and pop songs to work on (for piano solo and voice/piano).Another student of mine likes playing HK-Pop ballads. I like quizzing her on what the song is about and the movies they are from.
- Getting a Head Start on the Next Level: Two of my advanced students have opted to get a jump start on the next grade. They are (hopefully) building their project timeline and have selected three pieces to start working on, on top of their technical requirements.
- Summer Lessons/Workshops: Four of my students have opted to take some lessons throughout July. One is writing a theory exam in August. Another is playing catch-up after a six-month hiatus. Student #3 is preparing for Adult Piano Camp. Student #4 has had practicing consistency challenges throughout the year, so we're hoping that she'll be able to make some headway without school getting in the way.
- Start working on Rameau's "Suite #5 in G+/g"-: I've wanted to sink my teeth into this one for months.
- Work through my advanced students' repertoire: Some of them have picked songs I'm not familiar with, so I too much work to get a good feel for them.
- Learn at least 2 more cajón grooves
- Learn at least one song for voice/piano (to accompany myself)
- Virtual Choir Army: Learn and recordSeaEr Eric Whitacre's Sea "Seal Lullaby" alto AND piano parts).
- Learn voice/piano parts as needed for church.
- Start working through Forrest Kinney's "Chord Play" series:
|Chord Play 1 (The Art of Arranging at the Piano). By Forrest Kinney. For Piano. This edition: 1st. Piano. Chord Play. Book. Published by The Frederick Harris Music Company (FH.CP01)...more info|
|Chord Play 2 (The Art of Arranging at the Piano). By Forrest Kinney. For Piano. This edition: 1st. Piano. Chord Play. Book. Published by The Frederick Harris Music Company (FH.CP02)...more info|
|Chord Play 3 (The Art of Arranging at the Piano). By Forrest Kinney. For Piano. This edition: 1st. Piano. Chord Play. Book. Published by The Frederick Harris Music Company (FH.CP03)...more info|