Friday, March 1, 2013

First Week of Piano Lessons: Real Progress

First Week of Piano Lessons: Real Progress

Earlier this week I wrote about our plans to begin consistently doing piano lessons, and so far everything has been going fantastic.

After one week, Hunter (7) has already made it through over half of the book, and is currently on page 34 out of 62 in Alfred's Basic Piano Library level 1A.

I contribute his quick progress partially to the fact that he has been over some of it before (although I don't think we ever got past page 10 or so, and it's been many months) in addition to some spotted music introduction he has had before (introduction to note reading and pitch, etc, although this has been quite inconsistent over the years).

But beyond the "here and there" music introduction and familiarity with the keyboard he has had, he is a quick learner when he wants to be and it has proven beneficial in his picking up the concepts easily.

So far the lessons have covered:
  • Note playing: first the notes were labeled by fingers (he was told to play finger "1" or "2" and so on) then by letter ("C", "D", etc) and now he is playing on the grand staff without any written cues.
  • Finger position: he started playing on the black (flat/sharp) keys, then moved to middle C position, now he is playing at C position.
  • Notes: He has been working with quarter notes, half notes, doted half notes, and whole notes.
  • Other vocabulary: treble and bass clef, brace, grand staff, time signatures 3/4 and 4/4, mezzo forte (mf) = moderately loud.
There are probably some smaller things imbedded into the lessons that I haven't noted here but so far these have been the main topics. Some other things he is working on:
  • Holding his hands correctly (he is supposed to play as if there were a "bubble" under his hands, not with his fingers laying flat on the keys)
  • Sitting up straight, never slouching
  • Keeping a steady beat with a metronome (this is somewhat challenging for him, but after some practice he has been able to play all of his songs relatively well with a steady beat)
Additional elements I have included each day:
  • Instant note recognition on the staff (and corresponding tones) via flashcard videos
  • Singing with solf├Ęge (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti). We have been working with the entire sequence, singing up and down, and he does well matching his voice to the notes. We have additionally been focusing on do, re, and mi and singing them from memory (for example, I will ask him to "sing re"). He has been doing quite well.
I am very, very pleased with how things are going, and already planning on digging out the next levels of the piano lesson books: it looks like he is going to be flying through these faster than I anticipated.

Hunter is currently 7 years, 11 months old

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