Showing articles 1-10 of 26

Struggles with Alma Mater Blues

I need suggestions about an 11-year-old girl in a shared lesson with another 11-year-old. They both benefit from the shared setting (both were private until 2 months ago). She practices more since being in the shared situation, and the other student (a boy) is learning to slow down his playing more. The girl is having a much harder time with Alma Mater Blues than the boy is because she is not wanting or willing to slow…

Bishop Street chords: identifying and playing with small hands

I'm trying to figure out the I, IV, V chords in Bishop Street Blues. I know how to play it, but what are these chords? What makes it a I, IV, and V? Are the inverted/suspended/diminished chords? I wouldn't explain it to my students at this stage, but I'm trying to understand for myself. Also, tips for teaching a 6-year-old with small hands to play Bishop Street Blues? They're blues chords,…

Webinar Series: 04/19/2018 – Piano – Ask Neil Anything

This webinar is driven by teacher questions. Topics range from the rationale behind some of the curriculum to supporting coaches to the future of Simply Music. Enjoy! Topics include: Intro: Funny Story About Neil (00:05) Helping Parents be ‘Requirement-Based’ (2:06) How Teachers Can Improve Their Rhythm Skills (12:55) Engaging All Students in Shared Lessons (20:04) Rationale for Repertoire of 30-40 Songs (28:13) Reason for Notation Changes in Foundation Music (31:23) Blues Songs – More Common Keys Used (33:58) Developing Our…

Blues & Improv question

In project 7C of Blues & Improv, students work towards inventing phrases spontaneously. With the invention part (when students start to vary the rhythm in each measure), is it expected that students play the 4 notes in the same order each measure and only vary the rhythm for each measure? Example: BMTM each time, but different rhythm per measure. Or can they mix both order and rhythm each measure? We…

CAGE chord question

I have a student who is asking regarding the CAGE chord: why is it called a IV and V chord when it's not really in the position of IV and V? Maybe say they're extensions of IV and V., Different shapes for the RH, but the LH is in the IV and V positions and we're building off of that They're technically 9th chords. I thought…

Hand position on blues chords

A student asked me if it is okay for her to pull her hand back a bit when switching between chords. She's learning Alma Mater Blues. Is this a technique no-no, or is it okay? This is on CAGE chords and also on the shift from I-IV-V in the 12-bar blues. I don't believe it is a problem to do so. I tend to do it myself a little to accommodate…

Playing LH finger 5 in blues

In the 12 bar blues pieces (starting with Jackson Blues), I have several students who hold down finger 5 in the LH and just move the thumb up and down. Even after I've shown them the correction, they are not repeating the finger 5 on every beat. I think I've missed teaching that somehow. Suggestions? I tell my students "Now don't let the pinkie be lazy and make your thumb do…

Mashing up blues songs

I did an activity with one of my teenage students today that was really great. I was encouraging him to use the different blues songs to get ideas, mash them up, etc. Then we jammed. I was on guitar and I gave him a few call-outs to change to Alma or Light Blue or add Light Blue bass, CAGE chords, etc, then I swapped with him and had him call them out! He loved it! All…

Scale fingering – blues and diatonic

I'm wondering if someone can help me figure out scale fingerings, both with the scales for Blues and Improv (specifically Eb), and traditional v. SM fingering for the diatonic scales. I understand the concept of NO34 (naturally occurring 3s and 4s), but it doesn't always seem to agree with the traditional fingerings I learned myself growing up. So it feels awkward when I try to play the scales a different way, and I don't know if…

Showing articles 1-10 of 26