Album for the Young, athletic training, Bay area, California, cat, cats, cd baby, cdbaby, children's music, Children's pieces, classical music, Clowns by Kabalevsky, Creative Fresno, dream piano, Faber Primer Piano Adventures, Facebook, five finger positions, five finger warm-ups, Gallop by Kabalevsky, games, gymnastics, humor, Kabalevsky, Kabalevsky Op. 39 Children's pieces, Major and minor scales, MTAC, music teachers association, music teachers association of california, music teachers associationo of California, Music Teachers Asssociation of California, Music Together, Musictogether.com, New York City High School of Performing Arts, Oberlin Conservatory, New York City High School of Performing Arts, old upright, pentachords, pianist, piano, piano addict, piano finding, piano finding adventure, piano instruction, piano lesson, piano pedagogy, piano room, piano society, Piano Street, piano student, piano teacher, piano warm-ups, Piano World, pianoaddict.com, Pianostreet.com, pianoworld.com, ping pong, ping pong balls, Randall Faber, scales, Schumann's Album for the Young, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog, Shirley Smith Kirsten, Steinway and Sons, Steinway grand piano, Steinway M grand piano, Steinway studio upright, talkclassical.com, Teach Street, technique, Theory, used piano, used pianos, word press, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video

The Joy of Teaching Piano to Young Children (Videos)

Starting a very young child on a musical journey is joyful, exciting and challenging. The first baby steps taken at the piano will be memorable for both teacher and student, so careful thought and preparation are needed.

At the very outset, I believe in nurturing an awareness of the singing tone and how it is created. In the most fortunate circumstance a child has a real acoustic piano to practice on at home in order to experiment with various tonal shades, timbres, “colors” that we explore at our lesson. This consciousness of what the instrument can elicit as we tap into the imagination and inhabit a universe of sound exploration, requires attentive and sensitive listening. This is where the teacher can be the magical guide. At this crucial point of engagement, lessons can take off in positive directions and bond the student to the whole creative musical process.

Singing is an activity universal to childhood and a teacher who taps into this celebration of musical expression, will go a long way toward imbuing what the singing tone is about as it applies to the piano. The goal will be to teach a child to “sing” through his fingers and shape a phrase as he or she would vocalize it.

Learning hand position formation is important at the beginning of study, and it is not rigid but gently round, with curved, not curled fingers. The teacher can gently nudge the student in a relaxed physical direction by suggesting the light embrace of a ripe plum in his palm. The consequences of squeezing it too tightly will be amusing to the child, but well taken.

While materials such as Faber Piano Adventures provide great launching pads for formal piano study, it is the teacher who has to translate all the notes and symbols in these primer method books into a language comprehensible to a child and his universe of play. The playground as music teacher is certainly a concept that applies to the piano lesson and its content for very young children.

Staccato notes suggest lighthearted images: students often imagine that they are bouncing on a trampoline, or listening to popcorn pop. They will spontaneously share an activity that is suggestive of crisp, detached, staccato notes. Run with it and enjoy!

When teaching the legato, (smooth and connected) singing tone, images of gliding on ice, floating clouds, rolling waves, inspire children to play expressively and not hammer out notes in a mechanical way. The flexible, “spongy” wrist is the great shock absorber, and it should be demonstrated as well as modeled.

To imbue a sense of a steady beat, the teacher can guide the student along with a very buoyant motion of her hands and arms, and NOT refer to a clock, or metronome. After all, the beat is a frame for the music which can bend with the breeze as phrases taper to their conclusion. It is never static and stultifying. Animated clapping exercises shared back and forth between teacher and student are always helpful.

There is a joy to teaching very young children, because imaginations can happily run wild and create a very exciting, inspiring space that both teacher and student can inhabit.

Kirsten Productions: Aviva Kirsten, video editor

http://www.teachstreet.com/teacher/shirley-kirsten

Cat related:
Aiden makes another appearance in this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5MLPxKFl2c

Other Related:

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/piano-instruction-five-finger-warm-ups-in-major-and-minor-video/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/01/21/piano-instruction-favorite-childrens-pieces-video/

For Toddlers and pre-schoolers before piano study is undertaken:

http://www.musictogether.com

American Orff-Schulwerk Association - Music and Movement Education
Music and movement teachers find in the Orff Schulwerk a total approach to fostering creativity and conveying musical knowledge and skills.

http://www.aosa.org/

20th Century music, Album for the Young, California, Clowns by Kabalevsky, counterpoint, Creative Fresno, El Cerrito, El Cerrito California, five finger positions, five finger warm-ups, Fresno Famous, Gallop by Kabalevsky, gymnastics, humor, Kabalevsky Op. 39 Children's pieces, keyboard technique, Major and minor scales, music, music teachers association, music teachers association of california, music teachers associationo of California, New York City High School of Performing Arts, Oberlin Conservatory, New York City High School of Performing Arts, pentachords, pianist, piano, piano addict, piano finding, piano lesson, piano pedagogy, piano society, Piano Street, piano student, piano technique, piano warm-ups, Piano World, pianoaddict.com, Pianostreet.com, pianoworld, pianoworld.com, Romantic music, scales, Schumann's Album for the Young, Shirley Kirsten blog, Shirley Smith Kirsten, Steinway and Sons, Steinway console, Steinway grand piano, Steinway M grand piano, Steinway piano, Steinway studio upright, talkclassical.com, Teach Street, technique, Theory, video performances, Wild Rider by Schumann, word press, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video

Piano Instruction: Favorite Children’s Pieces (Video)

I’ve highlighted three favorite children’s pieces by Dimitri Kabalevsky and Robert Schumann that are very catchy, colorful and harmonically engaging.

They fall into the category of programmatic music because the character of the compositions match the titles.

Even though Schumann and Kabalevsky dedicated their compositions to a youthful generation, the music is quite sophisticated and can be studied by adults as well as children.

The selections chosen are Kabalevsky’s “Clowns” and “Gallop,” as well as Schumann’s “Wild Rider.”

Kabalevsky was a 20th Century Russian Composer who was Director of a music school in his native country where he composed pieces for his students and developed their technical/musical skills.

“Clowns is a bi-tonal composition, alternating “A” Major and “A” minor thirds in step-wise motion in the right hand treble, while the Left Hand has a redundant bass pattern known as an “ostinato,” in staccato (short and crisp)

The middle “B” section is in F Major with the melody inverted, but still in bi-tonality.
Kabalevsky indicated a much softer dynamic in this section.

A bridge of 16ths notes in “A” minor, brings the piece gracefully back to the opening theme as a CLIMAX in a FORTE dynamic, with a Coda providing a definitive conclusion.

***
“Gallop” is an energetic selection that sounds like horses in motion. The challenge is to master the Left and Right parts with attention to separate note groupings in each. The Left hand opens with split chords in slurs of TWO while the right hand has FIVE notes in one phrase mark above. (The A section)

The middle or “B” section is more rhythmically straightforward and is easier to coordinate between the hands because the Bass is punctuated in 8ths while the Right treble has quarters over these. (No mismatched slurs or articulations)

The “A” section then returns, and ends the piece.

***
The final piece showcased is Schumann’s “Wild Rider” from his “Album for the Young.”
The composer was associated with the Romantic era (expressive) of music composition (early to late 19th Century) and produced a vast array of solo pieces for many different instruments as well as orchestra.

The Album for the Young has many lyrical selections alongside lively works.
“Wild Rider” is a picturesque miniature evoking a horseman in motion and its harmonic scheme in the bass gives rise to the melody which is a series of crisp broken chord patterns outlining tonic, sub-dominant and dominant harmonies.

The staccato articulations enhance the mood throughout the piece which has an “A” minor opening “A” section followed by a “B” section in F Major (topsy turvy voices) Then it returns to the opening section in “A” minor.

Both Kabalevsky pieces, along with the Schumann selection offered, are treasured the world over by teachers and students, because of their beauty, and their technical challenges. They provide wonderfully enriching repertoire for late beginners and others who are advancing in their studies.