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Readiness to Learn

Is there any such thing as readiness in the Simply Music process? I am teaching a very bright little girl who is 6, but she is struggling even with the five fingers over five notes after 6 lessons. She can play the right hand of songs, but is struggling to even understand the concept of putting left and right hand together. Opinions vary - but I think 6 is…
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Chord Voicing

How would you answer this question from a parent? "Why does the way we learn 7th chords only have 3 notes? To make a F#m7, isn't that an A chord?" I'm very comfortable with the practical application of the voicing idea between the notes over both hands, but I was surprised that they thought it was cheating. It's not cheating at all. The "whole" chord from a music theory standpoint is…

Value of “easy” TFMM songs

I have an adult, private student who came to me already reading. She is near the end of Foundation Level 6, has completed Reading Rhythm and Reading Notes, and is working her way through Read n Play. I'm realizing I've procrastinated on introducing Time for More Music because it's so much easier than the reading projects that she continues to work on outside of lessons. I know she would beieft from focusing on playing-based strategies with…

Seeing and identifying chords in non-accompaniment pieces

In many SM pieces, learning by the playing-based strategies, I very quickly see chords. For example, Dark Blue starts with an A flat chord plus G. Lullaby has C, F, and G chords all over the right hand part. It's almost like my brain sorts the music into groups of chords. I have a couple of questions: Is this (seeing the music in groups of chords) a common experience for SM teachers and students? Would it…

Teaching half-steps

I taught a student yesterday who had trouble understanding half-steps (introduced in order to learn Bishop Street Blues). She successfully learned the chords just by learning their geography, but I'd like to return to the concept from another angle. Any suggestions? You know how the white keys are longer than the black ones, coming all the way out toward us, while the black ones end further away from us? So…

Student learned more advanced Fur Elise already

I have a very talented student who has a keyboard and he learns songs from the tutorials on the keyboard, i.e. Fur Elise. The version he has learned is more difficult than the Fur Elise in Foundation 2. I'm afraid he won't want to learn the Foundation 2 version as he is already playing a more advanced version. What would you do? Foundation 1 and 2 strategies are more important than…

“What to do” vs “How to do”

Separating the "what to do" from the "how to do" - on a basic level, I see this as separating patterns of pitch from rhythm. But I know there is a better analogy for understanding this concept. Anyone have any insight? What to do: what notes or fingers you will use How to do: what rhythm, expression, tempo you will play these notes/fingers "What to do"…

The importance of the learning strategies

After learning Ode to Joy, mom said her son wasn't able to "get it" with the counting, so she tapped his hand when he was supposed to change the LH chord so he was able to learn the hands together. This week he only practiced Ode to Joy and Night Storm, no other songs. We had done the variation on Night Storm. Mom said Ode to Joy was really hard. I encouraged mom to have him…

Student can’t remember patterns of older songs

I need some advice and feedback regarding one of my adult students who is at the start of Foundation 3. His playlist is pretty solid but he sometimes has difficulty remembering the patterns of the old songs though he can play them fine. I have noticed this when I point out that part of a new song has inherited a pattern (or something similar) from an older SM song. Is that normal or not? I have…

Content breadth vs depth

I have a student whose mom is a fourth grade teacher, and she made a comment last night that I didn't quite know how to respond to. In referring to the white board on which I had written the notes, including assignments from Foundation Level 3, Acc, C&I, and Arr, she said something to the effect of, "It seems like a lot - for me, anyway - maybe not for my daughter. If I think of…

Showing articles 1-10 of 142