Friday, May 16, 2014

The Value of Singing at Piano Lessons: Beginning Concepts (Part 1 in a Series of Posts)

 Singing is such a powerful tool to accelerate learning and reinforce musical concepts in piano lessons, and yet I don't recall any of my teachers singing at piano lessons, and I'm pretty sure they never asked me to do it.  Honestly, I used to be a little hesitant to do it myself with my students, because although I can sing on pitch and have sung in multiple choirs, I'd rather be the one hiding behind the keys than belting out a vocal solo.  But the past few years, I've stretched outside my comfort zone and asked my students to do a little stretching as well.  This series of posts will  highlight different resources and methods of using singing to accelerate learning during piano lessons. 


Start with singing activities at the very first lesson. Young children especially love the playful nature of singing activities and most come to the first lesson with some singing experience. At first you may have to sing to them until they are familiar with the songs, but it is even better when they are willing to join in.  I have used Faber My First Piano Adventures books w/ CD's and love several of the activities with the accompaniment CD's that teach technique, the music alphabet, and the grand staff.  The Grand Staff song in Book B is one of my favorite tools for any age student to remember the names of lines on the staff.  The rote teaching pieces from Piano Safari and Let's Play Music Demo Videos are two programs I have recently discovered that demonstrate how singing can aid students even at very young age to learn important musical concepts.  In fact my 3 year old was delighted to perform a rote piece from Piano Safari technique and rote pieces and I have looked into becoming a Let's Play Music teacher in the future.
Beginning Concepts 
Flexible Wrist:  My First Piano Adventures Book A "Hangin' on a Fence Post"
Wrist Float Off :  My First Piano Adventures Book A "Mitsy's Cat Back" Song
Arm Weight: My First Piano Adventures Book A"Stone on the Mountain"
Finger Numbers: Where is One?
Right High/ Left Low: Piano Pokey

High/Low: Let's Play Music Demo Videos Red Balloon, 
  High/Low Song Music K-8.com
Music Alphabet: Piano Safari Alphabet Boogie or My First Piano Adventures Book A

Note Reading

Treble/Bass Clef & Landmarks on the Staff: Pianoanne Barnyard Friends  ,
Treble and Bass Lines: Faber Early Piano Adventures Book B CD The Grand Staff lines chant
Treble Spaces: Music k-8.com FACE Song MooToob Music "F-A-C-E face, each letter is the name of a space..."
Bass Lines: Susan Paradis GBDFA Song
   The Very Cool Bass Clef Song Music K-8.com 
Intervals: Let's Play Music Demo Videos-Green Turtles

Upcoming Posts
Post 2: Teaching Technique with Songs
Post 3: Practical Chord Progressions and Transposition
Post 4: Teaching Ear Training through Song
Post 5: Teaching Tempo and Theory through Song
Post 6: Teaching Rhythm through Song
Post 7: Teaching Music History through Song
Related Posts
Using Songs to Teach
Sing-a-long Books

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