Saturday, January 9, 2010

Rhythm & Singing

Singing will serve to keep the piano playing rhythmic and up to tempo. The student at the piano should be trained, if a mistake is made, to find the place at which the teacher is singing and join in with the song rather than to stop the song to agree with the error of the pianist. This training in keeping the music going is extremely important. The student should only be sent to the piano when the piano teacher is reasonably sure that he is able to play the music correctly, and then he must be required to keep the performance going at the correct tempo from beginning to end. If a mistake occurs, let it be corrected later and the difficult spot drilled upon until mastered, but avoid stopping in the middle of a piece to make correction. This is also a vital exercise in sight reading sheet music.

So-Fa Syllables. The use of so-fa syllables is recommended. The syllables are valuable in expressing the tone relationships within the scale, and offer the simplest means for tonal ear training. A difference of opinion exists between the advocates of the movable do and the fixed do systems. Once a system is selected, however, it is best to follow through with the methodology.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Teaching Songs

It's always preferable to teach songs without using the piano except to get the right pitch. After the song has been learned the piano teacher may sometimes play an accompaniment as the student sings, but this should be done sparingly, postponing adding the harmonic element in the song until it occurs in the regular course of piano instruction.

Some children don't sing well, and occasionally one is met who can't carry a tune. This does not necessarily mean that this child is not musical. The non-singing child should be urged to listen nevertheless. He should be encouraged to sing alone as much as possible. Often he will be helped by singing beside another child who has a good voice. Someties he will imitate the voice of another child better than the voice of his piano teacher. Sometimes he can sing in a lower pitch than other children,and sometimes he can be encouraged to sing the song in a key within his own voice range. Every effort should be made to help him discover the light, high head voice which is the natural way for children to sing.

The song ca be presented a phrase at a time, first scanning the words of the phrase, then playing the melody, and lastly asking the student to sing the phrase. Thus it is possible to teach the song by rote, phrase by phrase.

Children should always be led to feel the spirit of thesong, as bright, lively, sad, quiet, etc., rather than arbitrarily directed to sing slow, fast, loud, or soft. Tone quality should be appropriate to the spirit and mood of the song. This helps young piano students develop an ear for expressing music.

For more information about piano classes NJ, contact Barbara Ehrlich Piano Studio.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

How to Teach Song

In teaching a rote song, it helps to familiarize the children with the song as a whole before asking them to imitate the pattern sung for them by the teacher. While listening to the song as sung, it is best that each child has his book open and follows the music and words as he hears them. This helps in the development of his grasp of musical notation.

After the child has received a general impression of the song as a whole, the teacher sings the first phrase the the child imitates. The phrase corresponds to a line of text. If some portion of the phrase is not imitated correctly, the teacher repeats the phrase a a whole or repeats the figure in which the inaccuracy occurred, until the student responds correctly. The second phrase is learned in the same way. Then the two phrases are presented together and imitated. If the song is longer, the remaining phrases are taught in the same manner, first a phrase at a time and then combined in accordance with their structural relationship in the song.

After all the phrases have been taught and combined into sections, the teacher and the student sing the whole stanza. This process helps young students learn to hear music phrasing and notation.

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Friday, January 1, 2010

Musical Orientation

Singing. Just because a child is a non-singer (monotone), does not necessarily imply that he is not suited to piano study. Sometimes these children correlate eye, ear and hand better than singers do.

The song approach, though, does make the ear the guiding force. Singing helps develop expressive playing. The song approach provides a connecting link between music associated with text and absolute music. Singing naturally introduces the study of music form and interpretation. Singing is a much truer and more musical rhythmic guide in early piano instruction than is the practice of counting aloud. It reduces mistakes at the piano and allows for self-correction. Further, the song approach easily leads to ready playing in all keys. Singing is the best background for the development of fluent sight reading. The song approach has the strongest, simplest and most interesting appeal for home practice.

. The piano teacher can play or sing something in simple duple time, having the student clap keeping time, gradually accenting more strongly, making crescendos, diminuendos, accelerandos, and ritardandos. Then change to triple time and try the same game.

Pitch. If children have been singing with so-fa syllables, you can test pitch discrimination simply. Play or sing various intervals, having the student name them by syllable. If they have had little or no music experience, give them an idea of "high" and "low"; then, playing or singing, start with the extremes, high and low, and gradually bring the intervals nearer and nearer together. The readiness with which a student distinguishes between the higher and lower tones indicates his power of pitch discrimination.

For more information about piano lessons NJ, contact Barbara Ehrlich Piano Studio.