After a few weeks of teaching, my students have definitely shown some improvement in their piano playing. I went over technique and scales with the brother and he was able to play a C major scale with both hands. He was playing one octave (8 notes) so I encouraged him to challenge himself and play 2 octaves. This was a challenging task for him as it required him to play another 8 notes, and his fingering got a bit mixed up. I told him to practice this at home hands separately first, and then put them together if he felt comfortable. We then moved on to his pieces. A few weeks ago, he wasn’t able to play both parts (both hands) but after practicing at home he was able to do it! It took him longer to figure out what notes to play as he had to concentrate on two hands at the same time, but I told him to keep practicing at home every day for at least 15 min and he’ll get it in no time. Here is a breakdown of everything that I told him to practice for this week:
- C major 2 octave scale- keep the rhythm steady and try playing soft at the beginning and gradually get louder at the end.
- Practice practice practice! Consistency is key to seeing improvement, so practicing each piece every day 2-3 times is important.
- Once notes are learned, look at other features of the piece such as dynamics (playing loud or soft), slurs( joining of the notes), and chords (playing more than one note at the same time in one hand).
- Break the piece down into smaller sections. If you find a particular section of the piece hard to play, practice just that section over and over a few times. This is a much more efficient way of practicing rather than playing the whole piece from beginning to end.
The sister could play her pieces hands together as well and improved greatly from the last lesson I had with her. She was able to play all the notes to their full value and she was able to count how many beats each note had which helped her to keep a steady speed throughout the whole piece. Below is a chart that I made with her to help her keep track of the different notes and rests:
We focused a lot on playing 2-note chords as she found them tricky to play. Instead of playing one note at a time which she is used to doing, her music showed a 2-note chord which meant she had to play 2 notes at the same time. This can be tricky to do especially for young kids who have never done it before. It requires a lot of finger control as you have to play the two notes at the same time and make sure they sound. We practiced the sections of her piece that had these chords and played the chords over and over again, until she felt comfortable. I made sure her wrists were lifted and that finger tips were strong (I told her to pretend that there was honey on her fingertips that made it sticky to play).
Here is a breakdown of everything that I told her to practice for the week:
- Work on memorizing fingering (review the hand/finger diagram that we made together).
- Look at where your fingers are on the keyboard! Sometimes we forget to look down at our hands when we are so focused on the music in front of us. But looking down every now and then can help us see what note we are playing instead of playing the wrong notes.
- Work on dynamics (F for forte= loud and p for piano= soft).
- Memorize note/rest value chart.