Ode to Joy & Controlling the Events
Susan M., California
Can you help me? Re: C section to Ode to Joy. I’m not sure if the problem is that I am not ‘controlling the events’ even when teaching each little bit, even each sentence in the right hand as well in putting hands together, or if it is just that I am moving forward too fast in putting hands together.
This is my 1st student after a 2-3 year interruption in teaching. She’s 8 yrs. old, started last year with an SM colleague, and switched to my Saturday lesson time In October. She does well with the RH one week, LH the next week, and hands together the third week. She was used to this with her 1st teacher.
A couple of times, I have tried to do the LH and put hands together in the same lesson. She became frustrated during the lesson. This didn’t work, and she said she just wanted to do one hand, or both hands separately.
On Ode to Joy ,when she had gotten the RH 1st and 3rd sentences, but not the 2nd sentence, I tried hands together. She was frustrated putting hands together for the 1st sentence. She said she wants to focus on 2nd sentence this week. She also said counting doesn’t help her, and neither does her touching her fingers. I may need to practice my words, actions, for the controlling the events so I don’t miscommunicate.
Have you any thoughts on this?
Cindy B., Illinois
Sounds to me like 2 things are happening.
- a big drawback to teaching private lessons is that the student will always attempt to dictate terms, whether it’s in how much you teach, how fast or slow you go, etc.
- I’ll bet money that this student isn’t using the home materials effectively, if at all. She’s learning the foundation songs as if they’re arrangements, one bit at a time, as much as she can remember at a time. If you go along, learning the curriculum will take her considerably longer.
Cheryl G., Pennsylvania
Something I have found helpful before putting hands together is to play the LH separately and to sing the melody while counting 1234. Or you can play the melody while she plays the LH. But she must count aloud the beats herself. Don’t let her get away with not doing it.
When she can play the LH alone, counting the beats, then adding the RH should not be such a problem provided that she is able to play the RH alone while counting aloud the beats. You should do this one section at a time. Then piece them together.
Also, does she understand the melody diagrams in the book? Don’t skip over anything, including touching her fingers and counting. To me, it sounds like she’s testing you. If you have to start the song over from scratch, then do it, but do it right, the way you know it needs to be done. Don’t cater to your student’s weaknesses. She can do it!
Kitty M., Wisconsin
When I’ve had difficulty with the hands coming together, especially if they can do each hand separately with no difficulty, I’ve incorporated the ear by having the kids sing the melody (on la or make up a word sentence, something fun or ridiculously silly so that they remember it) while playing the LH. First I will sing while they play LH, then I have them sing while I play the LH, then we do it together while I play in a different register of the keyboard or while I direct their LH. I also use the lap pad at points of difficulty to take their ear out of the mix, pointing out where to look while playing. Success on the lap pad usually will lead to eagerness to try it on the actual keys. Hope this helps.