Friday, May 23, 2014

The Value of Singing at Piano Lessons: Part 2 Teaching Keyboard Skills through Song

Keyboard Skills Songs
Post 2:
 Some students tend to confuse the names of keyboard skills (scale, arpeggio, chord progression, etc.), but ever since I read a helpful blog post a few years ago,
having them sing these lyrics has made remembering technique exercises easier. Unfortunately I can't remember who the blogger was, so if it was you, leave me a comment so I can give you proper credit with a link to the post.
 Scales: Sing the scale pattern as you play pentascales "Tonic, Whole Whole, Half Whole then step back down" or one octave scales "Scaling up and down the keys with pretty fingers if you please"
Hand over hand Arpeggio: Sing "Ar-peg-gio, Ar-peg-gio C (or name of tonic) Ar-peg-gio, Ar-peg-gio"
1 8va Arpeggio: As you play 1 octave arpeggios sing "Ar- peg- gio sounds like a harp."
Chord Progression: As you play a I-IV-I-V7-I chord progression sing (I)Chord (IV)Pro- (I)gre- (V)ssion (I)Please (For example In the key of C, I sing pitches G,A,G,F,G)
Intervals: Interval Scale Toss As students play melodic intervals up the scale (CD,CE,CF,CG,CA, etc.) sing "A 2nd, a 3rd, a 4th, a 5th, a 6th, etc." For a challenge they could sing both the quality and interval "Major 2nd, Major 3rd, Perfect 4th, Perfect 5th, Major 6th, etc."
One element that I appreciate about the Faber Piano Adventure Series is the reminder lyrics accompanying some technical skills songs at various levels.  The jazzed up cd version of "This is My C Scale" in the Young Beginner Series, makes an ordinary technique skill seem more exciting for young beginners.  Later they learn scale degrees by singing "Tonic up to Dominant."  And even intermediate students get a reminder of proper technical movement as they sing "Over, Under, Over, Under" while playing arpeggios.  Of course these reminders only help if the lyrics are actually sung as they play to better embed the message in their memory.

If you missed the first post "Teaching Beginning Concepts Through Song" you can find it here.
Other Related Posts
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

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