Teaching Light Blue
Found in: Foundation Songs
Brianna S., Arizona
I was wondering, does anyone else have trouble teaching Light Blue? This seems to be a really hard song to teach. I can play it just fine myself, but I am struggling to explain it to my 9 and 11 year olds.
Especially the “long I”. When Neil calls this a long I, this means a long cycle or measure, not a long note, as in a half or whole note, correct? He is meaning there is 5 beats in the measure instead of 4, so it is “too long”?
I am going to try to make up a sentence, such as “John likes red apples” to help them see that the last two notes are faster (i.e., eighth notes). Since apples is a two syllable word, I think this will work.
Any other ideas for teaching this song? Thanks so much. I love reading all of the great ideas.
Winnie B., Colorado
I like to make sure they have worked recently using the bass of the song with Jackson Blues. If it is well established, the work of teaching Light Blue is cut in half. Challenging, eh?
Perhaps the long sentence with 5 beats could be seen as a 2 measure sentence, 4 beats, plus a long or held note. In the left hand, 2 cycles of 4 beats are played, with no new melody notes, so another way to see it as a long sentence.
I like your idea of words to represent the rhythm!
Lu Ann B., New Jersey
A few weeks before starting Light Blue, I assign Jackson Blues with the Light Blue bass.
It has been a very effective way to add one element and have that comfortable before the
the new song is introduced.
Laurie Richards, Nebraska
When I first started teaching Light Blue, I think I always managed to confuse my students. Plus I tried to teach it all in one lesson, which doesn’t work except in the case of extremely bright students or some with prior experience.
What I have found to be most helpful in putting the hands together initially on the I Long is to STOP after the 4 “togethers” (don’t even play the final RH note of the sentence). If you repeat this several times, then adding on the remainder of the sentence comes pretty quickly. This one piece of information is very easy for the brain to process, and by stopping there they don’t anticipate the “right left” following, which occurs on a different count than the regular I and IV sentences. I think this is what trips up a lot of students.
Kevin M., California
Hi Brianna, I haven’t read the other responses yet, but I’ve found the easiest way to teach the long sentence is by saying aloud together together together together right lft lft lft lft/ Then
point to the first 1 of the long sentence as you are saying the together etc.. then point to the second 1 and say the left etc.. it has worked well for me.
Jan G., Australia
I have found the information I am reading very interesting on the difficulty some students have in learning Light Blue.
Adults refer to it with quite a few different expressions when you ask them to play it (wont go there). I have a student who turned 9 last month and has been with me for just over a year. She shared a lesson with another friend her age for 1 term and seemed to have quite a bit of difficulty in learning her pieces for the next lesson. Her friend dropped back with her practicing and by the end of the term I was asked by her mum if her daughter could have private lessons. She still struggles with getting her middle finger down at the same time when playing chords, and other small issues but guess what? her favorite piece is Light Blue and she plays it as though it was no thought at all.
I still find it fascinating how she is progressing as she still stumbles over other songs but she is still with me and enjoying every lesson and I get heaps of hugs for free!!.