More on Developing I, IV, V
Found in: Accompaniment
Karen T., Illinois
When I assign straight shaped chords, it’s two songs, one of which they can already play in their sleep. They come back the next week completely finished with that project.
When I assign triangles, it’s the same two songs, in different keys. They come back the next week completely finished with that project.
When I assign curves, it’s the same two songs, in new keys, and they come back completely finished.
When I assign black key triads, it’s a new song, plus 2 new keys, and it might take two weeks to complete the project. Or 3, or whatever it takes. Usually 2 so far. They are so glad to stop playing Grace and Auld Lang Syne, the jump right to it. Ha!
Then we jump into the “all songs in any key” project. We do the finding project in lessons, and I assign the rest of the labeling, and the processing, to do at home. (Keep in mind these are my older children, age 11 – 14. It will have to be broken down even more for the younger, and the elder students.)
So I have what I dubbed the ‘project conversation’ at this point. I remind them that this accompaniment program is a series of projects, and it’s not like the assignments in the foundation program. They need the reminder because until now the progress has equaled that of the foundation program.
I let them know that this project will not be completed in one week. Or even two. There are too many songs and too many keys. But it’s a project that is going to take many weeks to finish.
That way they never go home thinking they have to do it all in one or two weeks like they have been. And I think this is critical, so they don’t get overwhelmed and give up. So I just wanted to mention that.
Cathy H., California
I’ve found transposition to be somewhat abstract for some of my younger students. Even writing in the chords etc. something was not clicking with them and I wasn’t getting the point across well. This also included Vivek, who is my 6 year who has had an easy time with the foundation program moving through almost 3 1/2 levels in about 7 months. He had struggled with the chords and the idea of transposition.
About 2 weeks ago, Vivek came to class and was very happy that he had finally finished Danny Boy in D flat. We moved on, and while I played it in E flat for him he became quiet and deep in thought. With one hand on his hip and the other tapping his chin, he asked, “I’m just wondering, can I use those Danny Boy chords to play She’ll Be Comin?” I said, “I don’t know, shall we try it?” He said, “I’ll sing you play.” So I did. But he wasn’t singing. Watching the keyboard intently he was saying, “there’s I, there’s IV, there’s V.”
Now, Vivek was standing less than 2 feet away from me and all of a sudden the light bulb went on and he literally threw his hands up in the air and screamed “OH MY GOSH THAT’S TRANSPOSITION.” It was hysterical and so much fun to watch. He pushed me off the piano and started to play as many songs as he could think of easily transposing them. For some reason the cross-reference with She’ll Be Comin’ made sense to him. He came back the next week playing Danny Boy, and She’ll Be Comin’ in all 12 keys.
I’ve since tried this with several other students and been just as successful. Another example of teacher learning from student! I absolutely love the fact that I have six year olds that understand how to transpose and can puzzle music store owners with their knowledge. It’s so much fun!