Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Steps for Choosing Piano Fingering to Create Legato Lines

 Steps for Selecting Appropriate Piano Fingering

Choosing correct fingering can help you play legato phrases without awkward finger twists, leaps or tension. These steps are helpful in playing Simplified Hymns but can apply to other piano music as well.

1. Identify and mark the melodic phrases in the song. 

  • Use the words and punctuation as your clues.
  • Most phrases for hymns are 2-4 measures in length.

2. "Block" the Left Hand notes one phrase at a time.

3. Identify phrases including notes larger than a 5 finger span.

4. Write in the fingering at the beginning of each phrase.

5.  Decide which fingering technique works the best.

  •  Expansion- open hand wider than 5 finger position
  •  Contraction- close hand smaller than 5 finger position
  •  Finger Crossing - tuck thumb under or cross fingers over as in scale playing
  •  Finger Substitution- replace one finger with another while playing repeated notes

Listen carefully as you play with your selected fingering to make sure it doesn't have create awkward accented notes. Write in the fingering you have chosen and follow it consistently as you practice.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Elementary Music Theory Terms and Signs Videos

Following are a few of my favorite videos for introducing piano students to new concepts using a flipped learning approach during piano lab.

 Elementary Music Theory Terms and Signs Videos

PR Tempo - animated video defining tempo 


PR Forte Piano- animated video illustrating piano and forte dynamics


Mr. H Legato  - tutorial with example of legato and staccato piano excerpts



PR Crescendo Decrescendo - animated video illustrating crescendo and decrescendo



PR Presto Largo- animated video illustrating tempo terms Presto and Largo


CK Tempo Marks - brief definitions and memory aids for Allegro, Allegretto, Moderato, Andante

CK Dynamics- brief definitions of pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff



Pianote What are Dynamics - musical examples of how adding dynamics adds musicality

What are the 3 P's? 




Monday, April 5, 2021

How Quizlet Can Help You Master Piano Theory Terms and Signs

Using Quizlet in the Music Studio 

Learn Piano Terms and Signs with Quizlet, heidispianonotes.blogspot.com, #Music Theory, #Teach Piano Theory


Music Flashcards have a been a familiar tool in piano lessons for me since I was a child.  I loved the satisfaction of beating my personal record time identifying note names chords and music terms. Quizlet allows you to create free flashcard sets to learn almost any topic from Spanish vocabulary to human anatomy.  You can also tap into the existing sets others have created. There are several different ways to study that make this online flashcard tool even more effective than traditional paper flashcard sets.  I love how the various options allow you to study in the way that works best for you including starring a small number of cards to review, playing in flashcard, game or quiz mode with varying formats (multiple choice, match, type answer, etc.).

Friday, April 2, 2021

A Fun Way to Get Piano Students "Hooked" on Chords

Playing piano chord progressions may be considered a necessary evil for some music students, but with the aid of HookTheory.com the mundane becomes marvelous!

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Ferris Wheel Piano Improvisation Tutorial

 


When piano students improvise using familiar method book songs, it reinforces concepts in a fun way while allowing them the freedom of expression at the piano within comfortable parameters. 

Monday, March 22, 2021

Worldwide Youth Music Festival

The snow coats my driveway on the first day of spring when I am so ready for sunshine instead of gray skies and more snow shoveling.  My mood lifts when I turn on one of my favorite songs  "Good Day" by Nik Day. 

I was happy to discover more inspiring music at last week's 2021 Worldwide Youth Music Festival.  Free Printable Sheet Music is available for many of the inspirational Christian songs that appeal to teens. Some of my favorites include "A Great Work" by Nik Day,  If You Believe by Patch Crowe and "Come to the Well" by Elyse Alexander.

Friday, March 19, 2021

One Minute Club

 For our March Group Lessons the studio challenge is for students to level up their note naming skills "One Minute Club" style. Each time they earn an award, students get to add their name to the studio challenge board and select a prize. 
Fluent music reading involves more than just naming the letter names of notes on staff flashcards.  When students make a connection to the keys and also can quickly identify intervals they can more easily sight read new music. 

One Minute Club Awards

Bronze- Bass F to Treble G
Silver - Bass C to Treble C
Gold - Bass G to Treble F (All lines and space on grand staff)
Master -Low Ledger Line C to High Ledger Line C
Doctorate- Master + Speedy Interval ID (30 in one minute)

In my studio I use the Flashnote Derby and NoteRush Apps,  Susan Paradis Notes in the Fast Lane pages  to assess note recognition. Here are a few tools to help students practice at home as well
Susan Paradis's Free Mini Staff Flashcards - How many can you name and play in 1 minute
Teoria.com Clef Reading Exercise (Bass and Treble, Spaces and Lines, Visual Keyboard, No Tempo)
For a challenge add leger lines or accidentals!

Interval Games
Pianimation.com Over the Edge Interval Game- This game is great for groups or a buddy lesson starter or for a fast paced Slapinterval variation, but students can also use the cards solo for a minute to win it challenge practice.