Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What is a key?

The key is the tonal center of the song or the home tone.  Each key has a series of notes called a scale that corresponds to that tonal center.  The scale starts and ends on the tonal center.  The scale is made up of a combination of whole and half steps.  The pattern of whole steps and half steps is what gives a type of scale (major, minor) its characteristic sound.  For each scale type the pattern is always the same regardless of the key.  See below for more information.

Music information sheet

So far we have played in the keys of D and G. 

Next post: Relative minor keys

Monday, February 15, 2010

Feb. 15th class

Today we played lots of songs in the key of G (G,A,B,C,D,E,F#,G).  We now know enough notes to play E minor (Em) scale (E,F#,G,A,B,C,D,E).  E is called G's "relative minor" because it is composed of the same notes with a different tonic (home tone or the note you end on).   For G major the tonic is G and for E minor the tonic is E. 

We practiced slurring notes and learned to play staccato.  This just means to play the note 1/2 of its written value.  A staccato note is indicated by a dot over or under the note.  We learned one new note, C#, which allows us to play a full D scale (D,E.F#,G,A,B,C#,D).  See recorder sheet 7 for scales and fingerings. 

The new song for this week is Down in the Valley.  Recorder sheet 8 has the melody part and two harmony parts.  Students should continue practicing the songs from last week in the key of G, scales from sheet 7, Down in the Valley, Ode to Joy (challenge yourself with harmony part 1 if the melody is too easy), and Edi Beo thu Hevene Quene (This is on the back of Hot Cross Buns - practice student or teacher part).

Monday, February 8, 2010

Feb. 8th class

Today we learned low D, low E, high E (the same as low E except with a cracked open thumb hole) and low F#.  See the song sheets below for fingerings. Today was exciting because we now know enough notes to play many familiar songs.  For next week, practice the new songs and any others that you enjoy playing.  Make sure to keep the beat steady when practicing.  Start with a slow tempo until you can play the song with a steady beat.  Then you can speed up the tempo.  Practicing with the recordings will also help keep a steady beat.

Frere Jacques, Tallis Canon
Oh, How Lovely Is the Evening, Mozart Piano Sonata

Music Files:
Frere Jacques - slow
Frere Jacques - fast
Tallis Canon
Oh, How Lovely Is the Evening

Monday, February 1, 2010

Feb 1st class

Today we reviewed the alternate B fingering and slurs. We played songs from the previous lessons in the key of G using both fingerings for the B note. The fingers are starting to fall in place without as much thought. We discussed the common experience of playing so well at home and then not being able to do the same when playing with others in class. My advice is to just enjoy your practicing and the rest will come in time. Remember that speed is not the goal. Take time to play pieces that you enjoy and that you play well and then spend time practicing new songs and skills. Then reward yourself with a favorite melody. It will help to play along with the recordings of the songs. You'll be amazed what a difference a little practice each day will make.

Songs to practice: (see previous post for song sheets)
Silent, Silent
Silent, Silent - part 2
Ode to Joy - melody
p. 8 The Peasant and the Bear - Part 1 Part 2
p. 9 Old German Lullaby - part 1 part 2
Hot Cross Buns
Little Things
Bransle de Champaigne No. 9
A Paris
Little Dance (this is the one with no name)
Fais Do Do
Lightly Row