Teaching Tips

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Home Study CDs/Podcasts. Tell the students that the CDs/Podcasts are their 'teacher' at home. Listening regularly will help them learn to play the piano pieces and build a rhythm and tonal music pattern vocabulary. Students will also learn how to listen to music and how to play 'by ear.' Demonstrate at the lesson how to use the CDs/Podcasts.

How can the teacher encourage students to listen to the CDs/Podcasts at home? 

  1. Have students locate the track for a Pattern CD/Podcast assignment. Listen to it and echo the patterns with the students. 
  2. Have students locate a performance piece track in the student book, then listen to it. Have students echo the patterns with their voices.
  3. Have students locate a 'Song to Sing' track in the student book. Listen to the song, then have students sing the song.
  4. Post a chart of the different pattern categories and have students sign their name under each category when they show proficiency.

Tonal Pattern Instruction

Teaching Tonal Patterns. Sing a song in the tonality of the patterns while the students engage in some kind of movement activity, then establish tonality again by singing a tonic/dominant cadence. Sing the patterns with a pure tone and a slight break between the tones. While the patterns should not sound like an excercise marching to a pulse, it is helpful to feel that the pattern tones, the pause breath, the student response, the break before the next teacher pattern all move at approximately the same speed.

Give the students cues. For example: 1. Place your hand on your chest to indicate that this is your pattern and the students should listen but not sing. 2. Cue the students with a slight move of the hand when it is their turn to sing. 3. Raise one finger when you are going to cue one student to sing.


How can the teacher help students apply audiation skills to the learning of new pieces in the Music Moves for Piano books?

  1. Preparation for all of the 'song performances' are in the Lesson Plans for the Unit Song.
    If the piece is a folk song, first have students listen and move to the song. Then have students chant rhythm patterns and sing tonal patterns from the song. The patterns can also be played on the piano. Finally, have the students sing the song.
  2. Have students look at the student page and read the "Music Information" box. To establish tonality, have students play "Springtime One" in the keyality and tonality of the piece. Next, have students play the tonic/dominant cadence.
  3. Have students locate the starting tone and finger, then establish meter, and perform the song or the first phrase of the song.
  4. Talk about the phrases. Are they the same or different. How are they different?
  5. Help students find the areas that are difficult technically or musically. Isolate these areas for extra practice.
  6. Have students play the folk song with the left hand. It will feel and sound different.
  7. If the students have progressed to this stage, have them transpose the folk song.
  8. Next, have students change the tonality and the meter of the folk song.
  9. Finally, have the students learn the chord changes and add, if able, an accompaniment.

Home Study Assignments

How can the teacher communicate to the parent and student what was studied at the lesson and what is for home study? 

  1. Circle the page number of each page that was studied at the lesson.
  2. Date the column under 'Lesson' each time the piece is heard at the lesson. Dates may extend into the white space on the page.
  3. Underline, circle or mark in some way the items in the 'Lesson Time Objectives' that students should practice at home.
  4. Tell the students that they can practice at home any page that has the page number circled.
  5. Tell the students that they can listen ahead on the Student Book CD/Podcast.
  6. When unit numbers are placed on the front cover for unit review, remind students that they can practice any unit that they have studied previously.
  7. Tell students that they can always spend some practice time improvising or composing new music.

Transfer Students

How does the teacher introduce pattern instruction to transfer students?  A rhythm and tonal pattern music vocabulary is the foundation for learning how to audiate. Tell the students that you know how to help them learn music faster, perform without anxiety, become better readers, learn how to play by ear, and improvise. Have students learn simple folk songs, study rhythm and tonal patterns from the folk songs, and apply improvisation skills such as transposition, changing tonalities or meters, making rhythmic or melodic variations, and so forth, to these folk songs, and the audiation process will begin.

It may take transfer students some time to feel comfortable with a 'new' way of approaching music. Be patient and encouraging. Applaude small successes. Following are some ideas to try at each lesson: 

  1. Stand and move to the pulse and the meter (the "Watch Please" game). Over a number of lessons chant the different categories of rhythm pattens and teach students the names, or labels, for each category (macro/microbeat, division, rest, and so forth). Have students improvise their own patterns with the voice, then use a pattern to improvise using random piano keys on the keyboard.
  2. Use Student Book 2 to help students learn tonal solfege and improvisation skills. Have them play and sing the tonic/dominant cadence for the keyality of each folk song or its transposition. Have them think about the resting tone/tonic (DO is G) and the starting tone of the melody (melody starts on MI). The printed solfege on the fingers and keyboards are a huge help in learning the syllables.
  3. Have students transpose the folk songs and change the tonality and meter.
  4. Have students establish tonality and keyality by playing a cadence, then play the tonic chord tones in different orders. Have the student sing the patterns they played on a neutral syllable then with syllables, without the keyboard. Sing with the student, if necessary. 
  5. Have students sing, read, and write tonal patterns. Follow the learning sequence on the Pattern CD.

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