Sparse information in Reference books
Joy O., Alabama
At the beginning of Foundation 4, Lead Me to Light and Lullaby have so much less on the reference notes. How do you introduce these pages to students?
Given what you’ve learned so far in presenting SM, I’d firstly like to hear your thoughts on how you would go about introducing these pages?
Joy O., Alabama
I demonstrate the piece, and then teach it according to the strategies. I’ve only taught these to one group so far. In Lead Me to Light, the notes make sense in light of the fragments of the piece. For Lullaby, I had to admit (to my first group) that I didn’t get much out of the words on the page: Hand Positioning and Fragmenting. There’s a lot to remember, and I learned Lullaby from the music. I did follow the instructions on the videos.
As I go, I definitely find that learning via the video gives me deeper learning. I’m working hard to stay ahead of my most advanced group. I learned via reading music for many years, and so when I’m unsure (stressed or in a hurry), I go back to what is “known” for me.
Kerry V., Australia
The more you teach the song, the easier it will become. Today I learned two things in Sonata in C and Dark Blue that I’ve not seen before. I’ve taught them both for years. Always levels of learning 🙂
Joan H., Canada
I have a traditional background, did my grade 9 piano exam 30 years ago and then didn’t play for about 25 years. I found Simply Music and love the piano like never before. The best tip I received from the teacher who introduced me to SM was DO NOT LOOK AT THE MUSIC when you are learning songs, be it Foundation or Arrangements. I embraced learning a new way of learning. I wonder if that would help – put away the music books. Not sure how far along you are in the TTM, but I expect you may notice the benefit.
Mara K., Australia
I have taught these pieces twice to adults. As this is the introduction to fragmenting, it is expected that we build as we have built, say “CAGE chords” in Alma Mater Blues before, presenting the “shapes” rather than the entire thing, then combine them to get the song. It gets harder in Foundation 4 and beyond to figure this stuff out. There’s this almost completely pattern-based learning happening until that point, and then it gets foggy. The repertoire will take longer to master. Get Kerry Hanley’s workshop on “Teaching Foundation 4” from the Teacher Workshop Series. It gives useful hints and I have found it extremely valuable.
Jane K., Australia
I came from a traditional background. What I’ve found is that the less there is on a page, the more I will remember by heart.
Felicity E., Australia
I did find Lullaby hard the first couple of times I taught it. The CAGE chord shapes in the melody in the right hand is the key for me in that song. I had to go back and review the teaching videos as you really need to follow the specific teaching strategies for this one. It’s harder because there’s not as much pattern as previous songs and so it’s harder to remember. I find F4 is a big step up from F3 and a great time to work on other things like Accompaniment, Reading, Arrangements, etc as most songs take longer to learn.
Rochelle G., California
I found as I continue to teach Lullaby that hand positions and fragmenting are the two big learning strategies. You have to know your hand positions really well before you move on. Then you move on with the next little fragment, and get that down. Than you add the next little fragment, and get that down with everything before it. And so forth. If you insist that your students follow the steps, you’ve laid another good brick in their foundation.
Carol P., South Carolina
I like to think of the first three levels as one big layer of learning tools and strategies (sentences, patterns, tailpieces, directions). Foundation 4-6 seems to me like another layer which builds upon the first three. Lullaby and Lead Me to Light are chock full of patterns, sentences, tailpieces…but students already “get” those learning strategies, so the new focus is on hand positioning and fragmenting to put together multiple patterns/tailpieces and remember it easily as one big chunk. I pretty much say exactly this to my students at the beginning of Level 3. It is helpful to take the time to complete a comprehensive review of Levels 1-3 prior to beginning Level 3 so as to start this new adventure strong!
For me a comprehensive review is playing in class and trying to name the learning tools for each song they play. Some of the songs I skip hearing. For example, if I know the student loves blues pieces and he/she has mastered every single one and wants to play them every week, then I’ll only hear a couple of blues pieces and say, “for time’s sake we will skip this one since I know you’ve mastered it – that way we can get to new stuff sooner”.
Unmani U., Australia
By this time the students are starting to take much more responsibility for all their learning and you set that up proactively. One thing you could say is to explain a bit about homeopathy, a complementary medicine where the dosage is very distilled – the less you get, the more potent. Same with these diagrams. E.g. in Lullaby they get two words, Fragmenting and Hand Positioning. These aspects of the learning with this piece are SO important. So they are mentally ready to pay a lot of attention and are happy if, for example, I give them Lullaby’s hand positions Section 1 to remember with no video a week before starting.