Thursday, December 26, 2013

Second Year Piano Student Theory

Including theory as an integral part of piano instruction is vital.  The second year theory program might include:
  1. Subdominant minor chords (inverted position)
  2. Augmented chords
  3. Diminished chords
  4. Writing major scales
Subdominant Minor Chords

In the first year melodies are harmonized with major I, IV and V7 chords.  Minor melodies may also be harmonized with i, iv, and V7 chords.  Students should already have learned minor tonic chords and dominant seventh chords (the same for major and minor), so the only new chord in the progression is the iv chord in minor.  The purpose for learning this new chord is for functional usage in minor tonalities.  It is more practical for students to learn to play this chord in all minor keys than it is for them to learn to write the chord.  Students may first learn the progression i, iv, i in all minor keys.  Following this they can learn i, iv, i, V7, i.

Augmented Chords

An augmented triad is made of a major third and an augmented fifth.  The word augment means to make larger.  Raise the top note (5th) of a major triad 1/2 step to form an augmented chord.

Diminished Chords

A diminished triad is made of a minor third and a diminished fifth.  The word diminished means to make smaller.  Lower the top note (5th) of a minor triad 1/2 step to form a diminished chord.

Writing Major Scales

Sometime during the second year students may be taught the pattern of whole and half steps that make up the major scales.  They should memorize the pattern whole-whole-half, whole-whole-whole-half or WWH WWWH.  They aught to be shown how to assign degree numbers to the eight notes of the major scale and how to formulate the major scale numeric pattern of a half-step between degrees 3-4 and 7-8.

For more information about piano lessons in Basking Ridge, please contact Barbara Ehrlich Piano Studio.

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