Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Scale Tag


 Periscope #17
Practicing Some Breathing Exercises

Periscoping with my brother was the highlight of my week. It wasn't until after I viewed the video again that I gleaned the really important insights. 



  1. We have to bring the rhythm of one cycle together with the rhythm of another cycle.
  2.  When the cycle of breathing interferes with the cycles of playing then we get tense and we don't use our body effectively. 
  3. If we are aware of our breathing then we start the phrase with a breath and we end the phrase with a breath. Then we have two cyclic movements going together and enhancing each other.
  This week I started using this knowledge. It happened that I had overlap between two boys at their lessons who were the same age. The exercises described in the video below worked so much better with two boys. They felt less on the spot.


                                 

   Playing scale tag was really fun for them and the emphasis was on breathing and staying on the beat.

    Scale Tag
      One students breathes in and on the exhale goes down on a five finger scale. I chose going down instead of going up because it seems more intuitive with the exhale. The other student prepares by inhaling and choosing another five finger scale to exhale while going down. We played slowly, with intention. We go back and forth, from student to student, finding new scales, or playing the same ones. The next step was turning on a drum track. Now the challenge was coming in on the beat. 
   I have so much more context to work with now as I remind my students to breathe easily instead of holding their breath.


The winner of the book "Fascinations of the Human Voice" is Sara from Sara's Music Studio. It will be on the way soon.

                                                          

                      I am on Periscope on Tuesdays at 10:30 PST and my screen name is GabriB. I hope you will visit me. Next week I plan to introduce some student compositions and make them available to download.

Also check out Elizabeth Gutierrez on Periscope. She does teachings tips in 10 minutes on Tuesday mornings at 8:00am CST and I really enjoy her insights. Her handle is @pianoprof88 and she has a great blog. 

     Periscope is a free app by the Twitter company that allows you to broadcast all over the world. There is no time limit. Viewers can participate by typing messages and questions and by sending hearts for content they like. The recorded broadcast is viewable for 24 hours after airing.

                                                                 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Awareness of Breath While Playing The Piano

  Periscope #16
                    Talking to Ingo R. Titze, professor of voice and speech and direction of The National Institute of Voice and Speech. 

   When my brother visited conversations moved to the respiratory system and I had to access his knowledge of breathing while playing the piano. My I-Phone would only let me do five minutes segments of the twenty minute Periscope and there is some overlap from segment to segment. I hope you find the information helpful.


                                                Introductions and Setting My Intentions
    Ingo R. Titze is a scientist of the voice and has been studying the mechanics of making sound for forty years. I knew he could enlighten me on the respiratory system and wondered if we could apply his knowledge of breathing to the issues I was facing with a few students who hold their breath.

    My question: I have a student who holds his breath while playing through difficult passages. How could I help?
   Answer: "He needs to use his breath cycle to enhance what ever else he is doing. We do things in cycles almost always returning. We have to bring the rhythm of one cycle and bring it together with the rhythm of another cycle. When the cycle of breathing interferes with the cycles of playing then we get tense and we don't use our body effectively. But, if we are aware of our breathing then we start the phrase with a breath and we end the phrase with a breath. Then we have two cyclic movements going together and enhancing each other.
   Question: How short of a segment could I expect a child to work on?
   Answer: I would choose something about a second or two in length. Make that student aware that taking a breath and releasing it is really part of the playing.

                            

         Inhale before playing the passage and exhale while executing the phrase. Use other movements such as extending your arm to use the body and breath. Breath is a rhythm. Breath is not holding on to something, it is always a gradual letting go. But the timing must synchronize with what you are doing physically.
    What can we observe in regards to how they are breathing?
    Answer: Watch to see if they are regulating the amount of breath they need to play through phrases.
    Question: Should we teach breath along with introduction to legato and wrist lift?
    Answer: Yes

            


                            Discussion of how a vocal teacher could relax the student breathing

              



            Introduction of "Fascinations of The Human Voice" and invitation to use a straw to reset and relax your vocal cords. 

            


Using a simple straw 

                          



Would you like to receive a copy of "Fascinations Of The Human Voice"? 

Just make a comment below about this post. A winner will be chosen on April 28.



 I am on Periscope on Tuesdays at 10:30 PST, but next week on Monday 9:00am,  and my screen name is GabriB. I hope you will visit me.

Also check out Elizabeth Gutierrez on Periscope. She does teachings tips in 10 minutes on Tuesday mornings at 8:00am CST and I really enjoy her insights. Her handle is @pianoprof88 and she has a great blog. 

     Periscope is a free app by the Twitter company that allows you to broadcast all over the world. There is no time limit. Viewers can participate by typing messages and questions and by sending hearts for content they like. The recorded broadcast is viewable for 24 hours after airing.

                                                                 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The New Piano Adventures App


"Nancy and Randall Faber are pleased to introduce a new mobile app that offers the convenience of a full MIDI player on your iPhone or iPad. The app provides easy access to interactive play-along accompaniments for the Piano Adventures method books—bringing an orchestra, jazz ensemble and rock band right to your mobile device. The user interface is elegantly designed, appropriate for all ages and instructional levels."

  Last week I noticed my grandson running to turn on his CD player and play along with Level One Piano Adventures. I noticed the ease he exhibited and realized he must have been using the CD for weeks. For that reason I downloaded the new I-Phone and I-Pad app to acquaint myself with this new resource. I was impressed.



I showed the interface on this week's Periscope video so check out the short You Tube segment tour below.



  Notice how easy my student makes it look. In this video he is playing many levels below his current practice, but he found it fun to sightread something easy and play along.


                    


Every level comes with three free songs and when I downloaded Level 3A I received the Lesson Book, The Performance Book, and The Artistry Book. all for $4.99 per level. Level 3A is the highest they have to offer, as of now.


                                      




 I would love to know what you think of the new app. Please leave a comment below.

 My voice scientist brother, Ingo Titze, will be Periscoping April 18, yes, that is a Monday, at 9:00am and I will be interviewing him about breath and helping pianists who are breath holders.

 I am on Periscope on Tuesdays at 10:30 PST, but next week on Monday 9:00am,  and my screen name is GabriB. I hope you will visit me.

Also check out Elizabeth Gutierrez on Periscope. She does teachings tips in 10 minutes on Tuesday mornings at 8:00am CST and I really enjoy her insights. Her handle is @pianoprof88 and she has a great blog. 

     Periscope is a free app by the Twitter company that allows you to broadcast all over the world. There is no time limit. Viewers can participate by typing messages and questions and by sending hearts for content they like. The recorded broadcast is viewable for 24 hours after airing.

                                                                 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Clementi and A Groovy Kind Of Love

How would Clementi feel about his sonatina being A       
                                Groovy Kind Of Love?

In the last issue of Pianist I rediscovered a favorite sonatina. Opus 36 No. 5,  third movement, has a sweet melody, so sweet in fact that it become a pop song in 1960's. My student who loves Pop Music decided that this piece could meet his approval. 


          

                         
                            I can find this magazine at Barnes and Noble and it is worth the $12.99.

Pianist is the UK's bestselling magazine for people who love to play the piano. You don’t just read it – you play it too, with 40 pages of specially selected sheet music for players of all levels and all tastes.

Every issue features a FREE tutorial CD by professional pianist Chenyin Li recorded at the Royal College of Music, so you can listen, learn and play along to improve your skills.




 I am back on Periscope next Tuesdays at 10:30 PST and my screen name is GabriB. I hope you will visit me.

My famous voice scientist brother, Ingo Titze, will be Periscoping April 18, yes, that is a Monday, and I will be interviewing him about breath and helping pianists who are breath holders.

Also check out Elizabeth Gutierrez on Periscope. She does teachings tips in 10 minutes on Tuesday mornings at 8:00am CST and I really enjoy her insights. Her handle is @pianoprof88 and she has a great blog. 

     Periscope is a free app by the Twitter company that allows you to broadcast all over the world. There is no time limit. Viewers can participate by typing messages and questions and by sending hearts for content they like. The recorded broadcast is viewable for 24 hours after airing.

                                                                 


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mr.Music- A Game For Learning Note Value

Periscope #13
Games For The Beginning Student 


    March brought some new students my way. So, again I pull out my trusty games, one for learning note value and for learning piano key names.
    I thought of Mr. Music when I remembered playing Mother May I as a child. The video below has a description of how to play.



Playing Name That Key came along when I needed motivation for my students to learn their key names with the musical alphabet. I play a key and they must tell me the letter name. We use tally marks to keep score from week to week. To make it challenging for myself when they play a white key for me, I shut my eyes and tell them which key they played. Now, I don't have perfect pitch but I do have relative pitch and I surprise them when I get them correct. Alas, sometimes my ear does not anchor on a pitch and to my student's delight I don't get a point. Drats! 



                          
 
 I hope these games are useful and FYI, next week I will not be Periscoping. But I will return on April 12. My famous voice scientist brother, Ingo Titze, will be Periscoping April 18, yes, that is a Monday, and I will be interviewing him about breath and helping pianists who are breath holders.




 I am on Periscope on Tuesdays at 10:30 PST and my screen name is GabriB. I hope you will visit me.

Also check out Elizabeth Gutierrez on Periscope. She does teachings tips in 10 minutes on Tuesday mornings at 8:00am CST and I really enjoy her insights. Her handle is @pianoprof88 and she has a great blog. 

     Periscope is a free app by the Twitter company that allows you to broadcast all over the world. There is no time limit. Viewers can participate by typing messages and questions and by sending hearts for content they like. The recorded broadcast is viewable for 24 hours after airing.

                                                                 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Improvising With The Brand New Student


                                          Periscope #12
                    Improvising With a Brand New Student


First off, here is a student who really gets in the groove with the Pop Song Improv. You can find more information here.  Isn't he great! Pardon the upside down view.



          

   You can improvise with even a beginning student. The key of Gb major works wonderfully. Your student can use any of the black notes on the keyboard. They all sound great. If they are stumped and are shy to begin, show them how to put fingers 2,3,4 on the three blacks keys and move from key to key. Encourage them to move into different octaves. As the teacher, play a slow 4/4 time arpeggiating the Gb chords. Get acquainted with the various ways to arppegiate the chords formed from the scale.




     Here I have listed the degrees of the scale, the boxed in letters are the scale names, and following the scales names are some possible notes to arpeggiate. I use a sequence that starts with Gb, the first degree of the scale, then goes down to Eb, the sixth degree of the scale, moves lower to Cb, the fourth degree of the scale, then moves up to Db, the fifth degree of the scale, and goes back home. You can also use an extended sequence with minor chords in the second degree, listed on the second row.
   Some huge benefits of improvising are:

  1. You can see how well your student feels rhythm if they fit within your accompaniment.
  2. You learn to really listen and feel the student's musical sensibility.
  3. You can help them develop a melodic ear.
  4. Improvising is relaxing and soul satisfying. 
If you watch a sample of my Periscope video, below, you can hear a story of parent feedback after listening to her child improvise with me.



                          



   If you would like to see the accompaniment to this improvisation written out, here is a sample.



Next week on Periscope I'll demonstrate a different improvisation pattern with add ons. This becomes just 5-8- minutes of my lesson time but can really energize my students.

 I am on Periscope on Tuesdays at 10:30 PST and my screen name is GabriB. I hope you will visit me.

Also check out Elizabeth Gutierrez on Periscope. She does teachings tips in 10 minutes on Tuesday mornings at 8:00am CST and I really enjoy her insights. Her handle is @pianoprof88 and she has a great blog. 

     Periscope is a free app by the Twitter company that allows you to broadcast all over the world. There is no time limit. Viewers can participate by typing messages and questions and by sending hearts for content they like. The recorded broadcast is viewable for 24 hours after airing.

                                                                 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Improvise An Irish Dance For St. Patrick's Day


                                          Periscope #11
                    Teach an Irish Dance for St. Patrick's Day


                My inspiration for daring to teach improvisational playing is Forrest Kinney. He has produced some wonderful books that give ideas for improv patterns in all styles of music. He magically appeared at my dinner table one evening, unexpected and unannounced, and open my eyes to the joy of creating music. Read about it here.




  So today, here is a pattern for an Irish Dance. The parameters on on the picture below and watch the Periscope video to put it together.



                           
                 
                              

Next week on Periscope I'll demonstrate a different pattern with add ons. This becomes just 5-8- minutes of my lesson time but can really energize my students.

 I am on Periscope on Tuesdays at 10:30 PST and my screen name is GabriB. I hope you will visit me.

Also check out Elizabeth Gutierrez on Periscope. She does teachings tips in 10 minutes on Tuesday mornings at 8:00am CST and I really enjoy her insights. Her handle is @pianoprof88 and she has a great blog. 

     Periscope is a free app by the Twitter company that allows you to broadcast all over the world. There is no time limit. Viewers can participate by typing messages and questions and by sending hearts for content they like. The recorded broadcast is viewable for 24 hours after airing.