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Ear Training and Transposing are intrinsic to piano lessons (examples from an Adult lesson in progress)

It’s not easy to plan a one hour piano lesson to include ear training, solfege and transposing. (They belong together, bundled with Theory, and enrich the learning environment)

At the Oberlin Conservatory, Theory, Keyboard Harmony, and Eurhythmics were taught separately. Our piano teachers (applied study) adhered to their rigid routine, rarely fitting solfege, sight-reading, improvising, composing etc. into the time-limited hour. Yet, the cross-fertilization of course work, expanded our musical horizons.

The New York City High School of Performing Arts, my alma mater, offered a valuable/mandatory Sight-singing course that continued from 10th grade through senior year. It was enormously relevant as the movable DO (solfeggio) helped me navigate complex scores, and peel away voices.

Piano students who just stick to the music without being exposed to theory, ear-training and other mind-enriching escapades, are basically short-changed. They often view their pieces as finger challenges only–easily becoming Treble clef fixated, tacking on bass lines without a second thought. Naturally, their sight-reading suffers because they’re not internalizing interval movement in various voices, or sensing harmonic flow.

In an effort to stem the tide of such top layer, tracing paper learning, I’ve made a concerted effort to delegate at least 15 minutes of my students’ lesson time to ear training and transposing. (One of my source materials is Fundamentals of Piano Theory by Snell and Ashleigh) Snell and Ashleigh

As an example, I videotaped an adult student transposing snatches from the Preparatory Level workbook, page 45.

for transposition using solfege

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I’ve tossed in a spot-practicing segment where the ADULT student is smoothing out a tricky set of measures in the RONDO: Allegretto, Mozart Sonata, K. 545. (Repertoire should be a springboard for sight-singing, ear-training and theory adventures since they’re interwoven)

(I often slip into solfeggio in parceling voices)

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LINKS:

Solfeggio and Transposing

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/09/19/piano-instruction-solfeggio-and-transposing-video/

The Importance of Sight-singing, Ear-training and Theory in piano study
https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/09/21/the-importance-of-sight-singing-ear-training-and-theory-in-piano-study/

Using Piano Repertoire and as a springboard for a theory lesson

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/using-piano-repertoire-as-a-springboard-for-a-theory-lesson-major-minor-and-diminished-chords-videos/

How to Improve Sight-Reading

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/how-to-improve-sight-reading-at-the-piano/

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Learning J.S. Bach’s B minor Invention No. 15 (BWV 786) in baby steps

Both embedded videos track my step-by-step approach to learning this beautiful composition.

In the part one Instruction, I play slowly through the right hand to explore the subject, its articulation, fingering, execution of ornaments, and follow-up strand of 16th notes. Pieces of the subject, or motifs, therein, are identified along with any treatments by inversion. Modulations of the subject or its fragments are clearly mapped.

The same holds for a separate scrutiny of the left hand (Part 2 Instruction) with its tie-in to the subject stated initially in the right hand. All the strands, relationships, ideas borrowed, in part or in full from the subject and what follows, must be made conscious. An awakened ear and alert mind fuse together in this process of assimilating the piece. This is before the two voices will become interactive: independent and co-dependent at the same time. (Counterpoint)

Part One:

Part Two:

In Tempo:

Bach Invention in B minor p 1

p 2 Bach Invention in B minor

p. 3 revise Bach invention in B minro