Teaching Piano VIVA discussion

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Presentation
Introduction
The Teacher
I believe that
- the teacher should inspire her students
- create an all round musician
- teach in a manner that appeals to students
- be firm yet sympathetic with the student
- adjust to student’s needs
What I expect to achieve from the Student
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should respect the teacher
have good practice method
good posture
play with confidence
give the best style and interpretation
compose and improvise
have good aural awareness and sight reading skills
The Lesson
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my method leads to examinations
1 hour lesson covering: scales, exam pieces, aural test, sight reading and
theory
Young beginners only half an hour due to concentration
Supplemented by technique books, studies and other coursework plus fun
pieces
Suggest leisure play
Or same as above supplemented with musicianship exercises + also
include them to supplement academic work
Hand position and avoidance of tension
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cupped hands … explain
seated straight with legs slightly bent and arms at obtuse angle
balanced position - avoid tension in arms and wrists and shoulders
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if students complain of pain, we analyze the situation and suggest for
example a break, physical exersices and adequate warm up
young children need stool to avoid dangling feet
Technique and course work
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Technique is the basis of all good playing
Strengthen fingers, gives agility and helps students master technical
difficulties in a concentrated manner
Technique starts as early as possible:
Alfred’s prep course series integrate technique, aural etc in one
series of books, interconnecting
Dozen a day for older beginner
Beyer for adult beginner
Hanon – continuation
Czerny school of velocity + Piscna
Clementi Gradus ad Parnassum
By grade 5 the student should reach Hanon book 3 at this stage + knows all
the scales set by the board for the grade 5
Some difficulties of scales:
Introduction of melodic minor scales – tend to get confused till they learn
their sound. IMP to learn separate hands first
Another hurdle is the rhythm since grouping is in 3’s. Ta Te Tee method is
helpful – one two three, student might get mixed up with fingering.
Course work
Depending on student’s age and how they will progress, I chose the
book that best suits them
Alfred’s for young beginners or teaching little fingers to play for
7yrs or Thompson
Go on with Edna Mae Burnam Step by Step piano course
Tuneful Graded studies grade 1
From grade 2 onwards include The New Czerny
From Grade 3:
The New Czerny 2, Bertini, Clementi, Burgmuller, Anna Magdalena
Bach book and collections of music per period
Grade 5 students should have reached Tuneful Graded Studies book 4, The New
Czerny end of book 2, reached the end of one of the collection books or
Beethoven’s Sonatinas, Bach’s 2 and 3 Part inventions and the more difficult
pieces from Schumann’s Album for the Young Op 68. Also modern pieces either
of students choice or Jazz, Rags and Blues by Martha Mier.
Teaching Exam Pieces
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Important process since student will be playing for long time and
presenting at exam in the best possible way
Make sure that student likes the pieces, leave choice in their hands.
Change only if struggling of if not suited to their temperament
Playing to pupil before or listen to recording
Give student info about the period, composer and style, analysis of
structure, articulation, pedaling and dynamics, identify difficult passages
which may require study out of context
Start separated hands, later BH together in small sections
Some general difficulties I could see from the Grade 5 pieces in General:
New ornaments such as the turn in the Minuetto by Clementi
More complex articulation such as the Capriccio by Scarlatti and La Pupee
de Marcella by Linnn
Irregular timing such as the Rumba by Ingoldsby
Three and four part harmony in the Capriccio and Am Abend
The 3 exam pieces
Ballata by Burgmuller Grade 4:
Some of the difficulties in learning this piece are
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the change of key signature since it is in ternery form and the B section
has no key signature. The students usually keep on playing with the key
signature of the first phrase in mind.
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There is a tendency to go faster in the repetition of the A section since
it is familiar
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There is a tricky section third line from the end where the student must
be careful and count well as she will be playing two quavers and pausing for a
quaver rest, against the three solid quavers in the previous bars
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The melody is in the left hand and thus the chords in the right hand
must not be overpowering
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The melody in left hand is legato as opposed to the right hand staccato
chords
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Allegro con brio – the student must understand this well otherwise they
will not manage to convey the character of the piece
La Poupee de Marcella by Jennifer Linn Grade 5:
the student must express the mimicking effect of the Cake-Walk style
the articulation in this piece is vital for the character to emerge
there are a few bars where the syncopation occurs in the left hand; this
might be a bit more difficult to achieve than the right hand and needs more
separate hand practice.
There is a difficulty in combining the right hand and left hand together;
thus this piece requires good separate hands practice and slow study when
learning both hands together to make sure that the correct notes are played
together.
The dynamics and performance directions are very important
Venetian Gondola Song by F. Mendelssohn Grade 7
the student would encounter difficulty in reading notes since the piece
is in three part harmony. Careful attention must be given to the legato notes
in the right hand in order to let the melody come out effectively
There are also tied and long notes as well as accidentals which may
confuse the student.
There is a lot of articulation in the left hand as well as large skips which
persevere throughout the piece. The student must master this while the
piece is being studied separate hands so as not to encounter major problems
when playing both hands together.
The pedaling must not be blurred
The melody is in the right hand and thus must be played cantabile
Sight Reading and Aural Training
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include in every lesson not merely for a minute or two
interesting books by Paul Harris
exercises are fun
can be worked during lesson and consolidate by giving homework
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easy activities which improve aural and sight-reading awareness, good
supplementary work to the exercises set by board.
Young beginners use percussion instruments (small/toys) and Alfred’s Prep
course
Recently discovered Joining The Dots by Alan Bullard which is very
interesting as it also includes improvisation activities etc.
Theory
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Combine practical and theory topics as much as possible
Demonstrate examples on the piano and refer to them during practical
lessons
Use Theory Made Easy as supplementary exercises + pictures help
Alfred’s series very interesting for children
Grade 5 theory is a very important milestone
Activities
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encourage and organize group lessons with rhythmic games, singing in
rounds, performances and improvisation
this promotes performance skills, team work, social skills and confidence.
Pupils meet other pupils and work together  piano not a solitary
instrument
Teach the students Jaques Dalcroze’s method of Eurythmics
xmas concert, state concerts, student get togethers, school concerts etc.
Eurhythmics
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Dalcroze Eurhythmics is a way of understanding and expressing the
elements of music in a physical way through movement of the whole
body.
Eurhythmics means good rhythm and the method consists of:
Rhythmics – music through movement
Solfa – aural training based on Kodaly
Improvisation
Some examples of exercises for groups:
Canon – singing exercises
Interrupted canon – echo clapping
Follow – story telling with music
Quick reaction exercises – ideal for young students for example musical
prompts where students are given an signal to change the action
Stopping and starting on a signal
Locomotor rhythms
Playing a sound and student draws what they imagine the sound to be
When playing acciaccatura = jump
Trill = turn
etc
Running the Studio
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organized info about students
quarterly assessments
keep in touch with parents and inform them of progess
well lit and ventilated room
students ushered to/from door
decorate studio so that students enter a world of music.
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