Friday, June 29, 2012

Beats Per Measure

The difference between having group lessons after school and in the middle of the day is astounding. My students are so much more ready to learn and ask questions. Here are the youngest mixed in with the oldest My First Adventure students doing beats per measure. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

What Key Is This In?

   When I bring a few students together in a group lesson I like to start a conversation about musical theory. Yesterday I asked if anyone could explain key signature. 
   "It's your hand position."
   " It's the pattern of notes you play."
   " It's how many black keys there are." 

   It will take a few more discussions to fully understand it, but we tried in in a new way. It begins with the metaphor of a train and how it stops at different stations.

   The main station. Key of C is where the train begins. No passengers are aboard. It is five steps to the next station and there passenger F# takes a seat and stays for the whole ride.

   Five steps further along the track and we arrive at the station called D Major. When the passenger C# comes aboard F# takes his seat at the front of the train. Then it's five steps to the next station called A Major and so the train continues on. After using our feet to make the physical steps we travel around the circle of fifths until we arrive at F# Major, full train of passengers. Another day we can travel the other direction meeting passengers who are flats. Next week in our private lessons we will relate the train metaphor to the circle of fifths on their assignment pages. I hope it gives them another way to see Key Signatures.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The End Of Juneuary

   Yes, Juneuary is what we call this month because we can't seem to get beyond 63 degrees. Brr… It has been ages since I have have written about piano activities. Here in the Northwest, school just let out so my Spring Semester ends this week. It was time for a few groups lessons to check in with skills I hope everyone has acquired. For my First Piano Adventures students I made a last effort to follow up on Time Signature and music elements.

    These students are entering into Book C and I reviewed what a variation entailed and we played those Twinkle pieces at the end of Book B. I was pleased with their recall of the musical changes in each song. We watched a U-Tube video of a young girl playing Mozart's variations, or a few of them, and talked about how each part added more notes.
   Their favorite part was playing for each other and I was entranced with their dancing legs under the piano.

                Three more days of group lessons and I hope they are as fun as this one was today.