Thursday, January 31, 2013

Adagio Teaching Tip

Have your students ever confused tempo terms like Adagio, Allegro, Andante etc.?  I decided that I needed to change my teaching approach when introducing terms to help make them more memorable from the start & this music makes the perfect memory aid.  The haunting melody of this "Ghost Waltz" by Edwin McLean (In FJH Federation Favorites Book 2) kept running through my mind after I played it so I added some repetitious lyrics to review "Adagio".

1.  Play the song as student tiptoes around the studio on beat downbeat of each measure.
2.  Sing some repetitious lyrics  with some extra expression on the long notes
"A daaaaaaaaaaaa  gi oooooooooooo  Play Slooooooooooooow,"
Adagio play slow
Adagio, Adagio, Adagio Play slow.( Repeat)
3.  Divide up the lyrics having the student sing "Adagio" and teacher sing "Play Slow"

For a contrast then play "Ramblin'Rails" by Melody Bober (FJH Federation Favorites Book 1) adding the lyrics "In a race your LEGs run quickly aLEGro means fast" to the first few lines.
Can you say that tongue twister 3 times fast?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hal Leonard Lesson Book 5 Piano Lab Videos

The Bear by Vladimir Rebikoff
  1. Color all of the tenuto marks red in your music.
  2. Circle the clefs in your music.  What is the first note your right hand should play?
  3. Watch the performer's right hand as you listen to this piece.  How does his hand position change as he plays the loud tenuto notes? 
  4. What is the form of this piece?
  5. What does pesante mean?

Arabesque by Fredrich Burgmuller
  1. Pay attention to the performer's wrists as he ends the phrases in this piece.  What technique does he use?
  2. When does it sound like he plays with more arm weight in the left hand?
  3. How does he draw attention to the sfzorzando at the end of the piece?
  4. Label the left hand chords and the right hand pentascales in your music.
  5. Label the form in your music using letters (A, B, A1, etc.).
  6. Identify the sections in your music that sound major.

Innocence by Fredrich Burgmuller
  1. What measures contain sequences in this piece?
  2. Write what key this piece is in next to the key signature in your music.
  3. Define grazioso.
  4. As you watch the performer, notice the "round-off" gesture he uses at the end of the long phrases.  Why do you think he uses a different motion at the end of the final long phrase?

The Clown by Vladimir Rebikov
  1. What motions does the performer use to emphasize the articulation in this piece?
  2. What tempo is this piece?
  3. Imagine 2 things the "clown" may be doing during the music.

The Kind Cuckoo by Francois Couperin

  1. Couperin calls the cuckoo (a European bird) kind or benevolent because it lays its eggs in other birds nests and leaves them for the other bird to hatch and care for.  Do you think this is  kind?
  2.  Write the beats in the first 2 lines of your music.
  3. Follow along in your music as you listen to this performance.  In what measure does the performer add some notes to the melody that differ from what is written in your music? This is an example of ornamentation which was frequently used during the Baroque period.
  4. Label 2 lines are the same in the left hand part of your music.
  5. Write what key this piece is in next to the key signature in your music.

Bethena by Scott Joplin
  1. Listen to the original version of Bethena on the video below and read the story.  How did the story end?
  2. Write beats in the 2nd line and tap the rhythm as you hear it repeated in the video.
  3. Label the chords in the left hand in measures 5-18.
  4. The piece in your book has been arranged. Arrangements often include the important theme of a song but may be written in a different key or have parts of the original song left out to make it easier to play.Listen to the arranged version of Bethena on CD (53) and label each line as major or minor.
  5. Listen to the Classics for Kids podcast about Scott Joplin's life & answer the  multiple choice questions .
Menuet in G Minor from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach
  1. This piece composed in the Baroque era has a clear and precise sound.  Listen to the articulation of the quarter notes in the left hand.  Do they sound staccato (short & separated), legato (smooth and connected) or portato (moderately detached)?  What other articulation do you hear in this piece?
  2. Baroque music often includes terraced dynamics (not gradual, but more abrupt changes from soft to loud).  Color the dynamics in your music (p-yellow, mp - yellow orange, mf- orange, f-red).  Can you hear terraced dynamics in this performance?
  3. Baroque music should be played with a steady tempo, sometimes with a small ritardando at the end of the piece.  Did this performer do this?
  4. Click the link to listen to a Classics for Kids show about Minuets and take the quiz at the end. C

Inspector Hound Returns
  1. A chromatic scale moves by____________
  2. Watch the 5 Browns play "Flight of the Bumblebee"
 The Gypsy Song by Hugo Reinhold
  1. What era do you think this piece was composed in and why?  Baroque, Classical, Romantic or Modern
  2. In what measures does this song modulate to major?
  3. Define morendo & allegretto.
  4. Think of another name for this song.  What images does it bring to your mind?

Everybody's Blues

PBS Kids Videoclip about the Blues

What is an Appoggiatura?
Canon in D by Johann Pachelbel
Just for Fun!  The Piano Guys "Rockelbel's Canon"

Saturday, January 5, 2013

NFMC Festival Music Samples Lab Assignment

Listen to each of the pieces in your festival level.
For each piece write the name of the piece and then answer the following questions:
1. Write 2 or more words to describe the mood of this piece.
2. What is the tempo (speed) of this piece (Adagio, Andante, Allegro, Presto, etc.)?
3. What articulation do you hear in this piece (staccato, legato, accents, pedaling etc.)?
4. Choose your personal rating for this piece from the following:
1- I have no interest in learning to play this.
2 - This piece is okay
3 - Nice, but not my favorite
4 - I would like to play this piece.
5. I would love to learn to play this.