One of my newer students, Jayden was working on “Space Vacation” in Anne Crosby Gaudet’s Music Discoveries book a few weeks ago. The instructions are for this piece to be played “mysteriously,” and we were talking about how to make it sound mysterious. He immediately said that using the pedal would make it mysterious. (And I thought to myself, we haven’t learned about the pedal yet… where on Earth did he get that notion?). I hooked up the pedal to the digital piano (I typically don’t have it attached since many of my students couldn’t keep their feet off of it if their life depended on it!) and sure enough, it certainly gave “Space Vacation” a mysterious and spacey feeling. Way to think out of the box, Jayden!
Posts Tagged With: Piano
One of my youngest piano students has an uncanny ability to figure things out all on his own. He’s been known to show up suddenly knowing minor chords before we had ever learned minor or chords, playing a familiar song perfectly by ear, or playing his scales with two hands together when we were only working on right hand. This week he suddenly started playing Ode to Joy in D Major during his lesson. We had learned it in C before, but not D. He got a little stuck in the middle, so I promised that I would write it out for him for his next lesson. Since he is just getting to the part of his book where hands combine, I decided to add a very simple left hand part. The arrangement can be found here, and also on my Printables page.
Wow. It has been a while. Why is it that, when summer rolls around, life always seems to suddenly become so hectic and congested? Oh, right, because I spend the other 10 months of the year putting off projects till the summer. Whoops.
So, to finally catch up – the studio now has a digital piano! The 88-key Yamaha plus stand and stool was hardly something I could afford or even have space for, but the old (as in late 1800′s old) Mason & Hamlin was starting to complain about the abuse. As delightful and wonderful as they are, I have a handful of piano students who get SO excited at the keys that they tend to be a tad rough on the keys. So when the old piano went out of tune within a month and developed a rattle and a sticky pedal, it was time to bite the bullet. It tucks under the window quite nicely for lessons, and all other times is stored in the dining room (so, you know, I can serenade everyone at dinner!)
Overall, I’m very happy with the P-95 Yamaha. There are a few notes with a strange buzz to them; I have a friend who gigs professionally and did not buy this model for that exact reason, but for my purposes it is perfect. One thing I love about it is that it can record onto internal memory. A student can record themselves playing something in the lesson with the touch of a button and immediately listen back to their performance. This has been a great way to bring awareness to little bad habits that kids don’t notice while they are playing. Recently, I’ve also been plugging it into my recording gear as my students work on their own albums (more on that later…). This sure beats trying to mic the piano! And, it has an “off” button for those instances when an overly-excited student simply won’t stop playing when I’m trying to speak
I’m sure I’d heard of this site before but never really bothered to look at it… which is a shame because WOW does it have a ton of free piano music! There are also sections for theory, which I have not even looked at yet. Looks like I’ll be keeping the printer busy today!
I have an elementary age piano student who is mildly obsessed with Ode to Joy. He loves this piece. It is the only thing he wants to play. But that’s ok, because it helps bring a little focus to lessons, even if the version in his lesson book is only half of the melody and written for left hand only. A few weeks ago, when everyone began choosing pieces to play at our summer recital, his only choice was… Ode to Joy! So, to give him an additional challenge (and because he really wanted to learn the second part of it), I wrote it out for two hands, with the full melody. And, I’ve uploaded it to my brand new Printables page.
My apologies for ignoring this little blog for awhile; I blame whoever decided that, in order to be handed a piece of paper that says “Master’s” on it, one must write a massively long paper (more on that paper soon). I further blame whoever decided that students at my particular institution should be forced to do so in less than two months! But, I digress…
I start my piano students off with 5-finger scales, and have found Susan Paradis’s Fish Scales to be very motivating for students to keep track as they work towards memorizing them. It seemed rather anticlimactic, however, for students to just memorize all of their scales, write them on the fish, and then move on. I wanted more motivation, and another chance to be sure that they really knew their scales.
So, I decided to create a “Fish Bowl of Fame,” where students’ names and scaley achievements could be posted. In order to get their name to rise to fame status, students have to memorize a certain set of scales (major, minor, etc.) and play them all for me from memory in a brief scale quiz. As soon as I announced that The Fishbowl of Fame would soon be making its appearance, I knew that I had lit the fire. Suddenly I had siblings racing each other to memorize their major scales!
The only problem was where to put The Fishbowl of Fame. No spare wall space was to be had for a lovely fish bowl such as Leah’s (and I could hardly see my parents appreciating fish being taped to their walls anyway…)
So I acquired a piece of foam board, some markers, glue, and these adorable cardboard fish bowls and fish in various colors found at the local Parent Teacher Store. The fish are just taped on with masking tape, so when all of the bowls fill up with fish students can take home their fish that have been up for a while.
The beauty of this being on foam board is that it can hide between the piano and the wall, perfectly out of the way until it is needed.
So far, Katelynn is the only one with her name up for learning her major scales, but a few other students, including her brother, are not far behind! They are all looking forward to taking their quizzes so they can pick out a fish and see their name go on The Fishbowl of Fame, too!
I’m planning to use various categories so that kids can get their name up for more than one achievement – such as major 5 finger scales, minor 5 finger scales, scales with both hands together, and arpeggios & triads.
Maybe the studio needs a REAL fish… what should it’s name be?