Friday, February 16, 2018

Using Piano Safari Rote Pieces to Teach Composing in Piano Lessons

Teaching Composing with Piano Safari

My brain has been in the composition vein for a while, so I brainstormed some clever ways to extend their my student's learning beyond the technique of Piano Safari with some creative companion composing teaching applications.
I love starting out even my young beginners with the Piano Safari Technique Rote Pieces because of the solid technical foundation it gives them and the freedom of movement at the keyboard they experience without the limitations of their limited note reading abilities.  They love showing off their "harder than primer" pieces.  These simple composition assignments guide them in composing as they apply the technical skills to their own creations.  The rote pieces act as a "springboard" for creativity and model the composition elements in each assignment.

1. Lion - King of the African Drum 
Composition Principle: Form in Music
  • Compose a song sandwich for a different animal following the form
    •  Sound Effect Intro + Melody + Sound Effect Ending
  • Be sure to choose a scale and pitch that represent the animal.
  • Would a bird sound high or low? Is your hippo happy or sad (major or minor)?

2. Zebra - Zechariah Zebra 
Composition Principle: Musical Conversations
  • Compose a song that alternates between repeated notes and step/skip patterns.
  •  Imagine a conversation between two different animals and switch back and forth between hands.

3. Giraffe - A Day in the Life of Tall Giraffe 
Composition Principle: Interesting Melodies Include Repetition
  • Compose a song that includes at least 3 sequences (musical patterns repeated started on a different note) + an ending.

4. Kangaroo - Kristabel Kangaroo Visits Korea
Composition Principle: Borrow Rhythmic Patterns  and use scale patterns as "ingredients"
  • Compose a song on the black keys that includes the same rhythm patterns as Kristabel Kangaroo but has a different melody.
5. Frog - Rain Forest Mystery
Composition Principle: Set the mood with Major or minor + Melody Inversions
  • Compose a song with 3 note slurs but transpose to Major and/or Invert the Melody patterns
6. Bird - Hawk on the Mountain Peak
Composition Principle: Augment or Shorten the Rhythms
  • Change some of the rhythms from short notes (quarter notes) to long notes (half notes) and/or change some from long notes to short notes.
  • Is your bird soaring in the sky, looking for food, or racing to hide from an enemy?
7. Monkey - Monkey Blues
Composition Principle: Use chords as the framework of a piece + Theme and Variation
  • Follow the chord patterns in the bass, but change the melody using different notes within the C, F and G chords.
  • Change up the rhythm pattern in the bass to create a variation of Monkey Blues.

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