Use this week to get your left hand red-blue chord transition solidified before we add the yellow chord next week. We should be getting to the point where we can play this transition with our eyes closed and even hands together! (That's tricky because the fingering is different for the RH than the LH. Only try it hands together when the muscle memory is solid in each hand separately).
A few ideas to bring playfulness to practice time!
Homework pp. 8–9: Students trace and color notes to indicate baby steps, skips, and leaps.
WOW! Our caterpillars are getting smoother and steadier with this 5 finger pattern! As your child progresses playing this song, watch for these 4 things:
1. Bubble Hand
2. Strong Independent Fingers
3. Smooth Sound
4. Steady Rhythm
Let's play our “Turtle Shell” intervals with the left hand! Using fingers 4 & 5 to play a 2nd is tougher than using the RH 1 & 2, so try warming up with “Where is 4? Where is 5?” before playing the interval. Repeat for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th. Enjoy a little twist on the classic game Twister to reinforce and strengthen those finger numbers.
We LOVE when our parents play along with us! Share more love with your child by playing an octave higher or accompanying together with the chords while listening to the album. Ask your child to teach your family the ‘LOVELY’ game that accompanies this song!
I am Robin Hood
"I am Robin Hood" is used to introduce quarter rests and the notoriously challenging dotted quarter-eighth note pattern with a fun and full-body experience. Practice "shooting" an arrow with your child while singing and notice the hesitation needed to sing "Sho-ot the arrow, Wa-atch it fly!" Also, the open 5th in the left hand is a particularly satisfying sound to young children, resembling the sound of drums, and is easy to play!
Echo Edna, a silly tool to help students let go of their inhibitions, helps our students in class be able to recognize steps and skips on the staff, sing them, AND play them. Teaching our students to read music using steps and skips leads to more fluent playing and better sight-reading.
"Simon Says to Step or Skip" is a fun game to practice this concept at home. Print or make your own step, skip, up, and down cards. A fun way to add tactile and visual reinforcement is to use small pencil top erasers or any small toy as a starting note and then step or skip with another one. It’s So Fun!
Be sure to listen to the specified album songs and practice each piece. Sitting with your child at the beginning of the practice week will instill good habits and allow you to correct any fingering or note mistakes. Then they can successfully practice on their own the rest of the week!
Place blue stickers on your piano for the Left Hand C-F-A and reinforce the correct fingering of 5-2-1.
A few ideas to bring playfulness to practice time!
Homework pp. 6–7: Students are filling in the crossword puzzle using the music alphabet. Remember, after G comes letter A!
“The first 3 notes just happen to be Do Re Mi!” Maria got it right teaching the von Trapp children the solfege before note names. We are getting ready to label all of the white keys on the piano. This begins with the music alphabet — C D E F G A B!
Block and Broken
Playing music is like reading a book. We start at the left side of the page and move our eyes to the right. When the note changes, so do our fingers. Help guide this song while sitting on the left of your child and pointing to the notes in each measure. Once your child is comfortable playing the song, practice making sure each measure gets 3 steady beats. Feel free to sing, “RED-2-3; DO-MI-SOL. BLUE-2-3; DO FA LA,” etc…This will help your student understand how to read the music and work towards playing this song with a steady beat.
Snowflakes are Falling
Brrr ... it’s cold outside! Warm up inside your home by playing this ostinato on the tone bells. Sing starting on RE, “Snowflakes are falling, falling very gently”. Then play LA, SOL, FA, MI for “down, down, down, down”. Try it in a round as a family around the fire with the music album!
Who Am I? I’m the SPIDEY BLUE CHORD!
Spin a chord of fun playing the Left Hand Blue Chord with fingers 5-2-1.
Thank you, parents, for attending today!
Please note, there may be a typo in the "Play Piano" section of the practice this week. It says to play p. 4 of Turtle Shells, but it should say p. 5.
This week, place the red Stickers on the bass C, E, and G for the Left Hand (LH) and remove the Right Hand (RH) stickers IF your child is ready. Think of the stickers as training wheels — we wouldn't use them forever but they're a great help when getting started!
Focus on making practice time as fun and loving as possible — give your child warm, friendly eye contact, smile with your voice, be a little silly, show you are relaxed and happy to sit with your child, and look for the good in your child's effort. Notice the joy in your child's eyes. Verbalize the good you see and hug your child often. This is the beginning of the practice relationship that will be essential to your child's success in Let's Play Music. The more you invest your energy into positive interaction, the more solid and successful this habit will become.
Homework pp. 4–5: Students trace the clefs and fill in the chord notes.
Left Hand Finger Power through Bubble Hands & Turtle Shells
This semester we will focus on strengthening our left hand finger muscles! Use Bubble Hands to strengthen and reinforce finger numbers. Thumb is 1, Pointer is 2, Middle is 3, Ring-man is 4, and Pinky is 5. LH pinky is on C, the bottom red dot.
Playing Turtle Shells with the music album will ALSO help strengthen those fingers. Look closely at the music on the page and it will help you know what finger numbers to play.
Do You Want To Build a Red Snowman?
The Left Hand Red Chord looks like the right hand Red Chord: stacked up nice and neat with a 3rd on the bottom and a 3rd on the top in a snowman shape. Use LH finger numbers 5-3-1 (finger 5 on bass C, the bottom red dot). Invite your little musician to play Old Paint with the left hand this week!
The proper hand position for this technique song is Middle C Position where both thumbs SHARE Middle C like a BUTTERFLY!
Since both red chords are shaped like a snowman, how do we know which hand to play it with? By looking at which CLEF is on the staff.
Introducing Treble and Bass Clef! The TREBLE CLEF has a lot of curls, like "Girls Curly Hair, (say it in a high pitched voice because those are the high notes that we play with our right hand). The BASS CLEF looks like "Father's Strong Arm and some fathers like to play bass-ball!" (say it in a deep voice because those are the low notes that we play with our left hand).
You can download the Pirate Ships coloring book below. Enjoy coloring together while listening to the music!
As a music educator of 25 years, my passion is infusing others with music!