Sue C., Australia
Using Chester Chills Out as an ongoing warm up exercise is appealing to me. One advantage is keeping the song alive over a long period of time. It can be played fast/slow, white/black notes.
After level one, the next step is to take the advancing student to playing it in Dm then Am then Gm (easiest first). Later more keys can be added. I am going to try this myself to see if I can play it in all keys in time.
Hope you enjoy this idea too!
Great idea. I would add when they get to level 3 Fluff pie. It reminds me of Hanon exercises.
Cheri S., Utah
It seems like SM generally doesn’t encourage exercises or scales, taking a practical, song-based approach instead. Since Chester is a song, then this could be consistent with that approach. Transposing Chester sounds like a fun challenge. I’m wondering if other teachers use some type of warm-up exercise. I always figured you just warm up by playing songs.
Jacqui G., Canada
Sue, after reading your post I had an idea on how to correct a rhythm problem my 9 yr old student has been having with “Chester”.
At our lesson yesterday, we played it together (she played an octave above middle C). We played it fast, slow, bouncy, smooth, like an elephant, like a butterfly, like a ninja, etc. Then we switched places and I improvised a duet, playing the RH thumb and little finger (C & G) together when she played the C and G, and separately at the tailpiece.
We were having a lot of fun, and the rhythm problem had disappeared. On the spur of the moment I showed her mother the fingering for the duet part in I position. Mom (a non-player) was not sure about this at first, but we just messed around until she was having fun too.
At home this child has been freaking out whenever her family sings along while she plays – they are “too slow” or “too fast” or “doing it wrong” – and then she pouts and refuses to try again. (I have a feeling that family dynamics are involved – she is the youngest child). So this week’s “homework” is to teach her mom her “part” for the IV-V fingering, being VERY VERY PATIENT, and to play the duet together.
Don’t you love it when stuff just “happens”?