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Shirley S Kirsten

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Rina, 4, plays Frere Jacques with two hands
By Shirley S Kirsten   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Friday, February 03, 2012
Posted: Friday, February 03, 2012

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A big jump in progress for a fledgling taking piano lessons for 5 months.

Rina, 4, played “Frere Jacques” with two hands, adding a bass part in whole notes (Video)

Charming little Rina has made a big leap in progress. Last week we were exploring WHOLE NOTES, and I asked her to practice one whole note per measure in the Bass to support the Treble melody in “Frere Jacques.” Today, I enjoyed her lovely reading. (This particular piece is mapped out on paper, with rhythmic note values and bar lines. I prop it on the piano rack for Rina to follow.) The Left Hand Whole notes are written in the right places under the melody so she is “reading” notes that float in space on one level for now.

I will start writing them reflecting up and down movement when we next meet. She’s also had considerable exposure to stair climbing to advance her understanding of interval relationships between notes–up/down/steps/skips by placing letter name flash cards on each step. We’ve completed this activity for “Frere Jacques” and Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” That’s where the concept of the playground as music teacher has been so relevant and helpful.


As promised, here’s Rina’s latest video sharing:

She has now taken 5 months of piano lessons, and has well absorbed instruction related to producing a singing tone. This has encompassed reinforcement of the supple wrist, and free, uninhibited upper arm rolled movements. We have spent all this time playing NON-legato, (detached notes) which will lay a foundation for eventual Legato (smooth and connected) note practice.

After we videotaped the French folk song, Rina played the tune in the parallel minor using Eb.

Rina knows her music alphabet going forward and in reverse, and can identify and name the most recent accidental, Eb.

She can recognize notes that are held for one count, two counts, and now four counts.

At the conclusion of today’s lesson, Rina played A and E together with her left hand fingers number 5 and 1 in steady half notes, as I read a piano arrangement of “The Lion” from Saint-Saens Carnival of the Animals.



Web Site: Rina, 4, improves her playing

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