This month I'm challenging my piano students to learn a song to accompany their peers with at our December group lesson. Accompanying takes piano playing to the next level because students must play with continuity (no starting and stopping).
Piano Maestro Christmas Songs for Accompanying
The Piano Maestro app is an excellent tool to promote accompanist skills.
- It gives automatic feedback for note accuracy as incorrectly played notes turn red.
- It gives feedback about rhythmic accuracy.
- The scrolling music forces you to continually look ahead in the music.
- Some music focuses on the harmony instead of melody so you can't just lean on your ear to pick out the music. This also promotes audiation for students.
- The practice mode allows students to practice in smaller phrases and isolate left or right hand parts for more focused practice sessions.
- The instrumental backing tracks make music more enjoyable to play.
Piano Practice Tips
- Greensleeves (What Child is This) Elementary Harmony Only
- Can you sing the melody as you play the harmony?
- Greensleeves (What Child is This) Intermediate Hands Together
- Color the melody notes red and harmony notes yellow. Notice the melody switches between the left and right hand frequently.
- Play the melody as you ghost play (only touch the key surface) of the harmony notes. Watch this sample video of "ghost playing."
- Play hands together with balanced singing melody louder than the soft harmony.
- Jingle Bells
- Play as written or choose I, IV or V chords for each measure in the left hand to change the harmony to blocked, marching or broken chords.
- We Three Kings
- Add slurs to mark each musical sentence.
- Float off at the end of each phrase (measures 8,12, 19, 24, 28, 32, 36, 40, 44 and 51).
- Shape the melody with small crescendos as the melody rises and decrescendos as it falls.
- We Wish You a Merry Christmas
- Measures 15 and 16 have a different rhythm than the traditional song. Can you fix it to match the words "[We] wish you a Merry Christmas and a.."?
- Joy to the World
- Use scale fingering to create a legato melody line.
- Write finger 3 below the first "E" in measures 4,11, 13 and 19.