TO THE TEACHER - Alfred Music

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Alfred’s Basic Piano LibraryTEACHER’S GUIDEto Prep Course Lesson Book ATO THE TEACHERPURPOSE The purpose of this Teacher's Guide is tosuggest an order of lesson activities that will result ina systematic and logical presentation of the materialin Prep Course Lesson Book A of ALFRED'S BASICPIANO LIBRARY. It gives the teacher considerableflexibility and is intended in no way to restrict thelesson procedures.FORM OF GUIDE The Guide is presented basicallyin outline form. The relative importance of eachactivity is reflected in the words used to introduceeach portion of the outline, such as EMPHASIZE,SUGGESTION, IMPORTANT, OPTIONAL, etc. Whilesuch words are used to indicate the authors' judgmentas to the significance of each item, everything in thebook should fall into the category of suggestedprocedures. Each page in this guide is numberedidentically with Lesson Book A for easy reference.GAPS AVOIDEDBY“OVERLAPS” To ensurePROBLEM-FREE progress throughout the course,and to avoid GAPS that might impede progress, theauthors have used OVERLAPPING CONCEPTSthroughout the course. After a concept has beenintroduced, it continues to be reinforcedsimultaneously with the introduction of new concepts(overlapping concepts).A SOUND APPROACHTOREADING Readingreadiness is developed in carefully paced steps: blackkey groups become the orientation for white-keynames. Rhythm moves from q to h to w, omitting anyconcept of fractions. Large letter-notes on the pagematch the same directional movement that will belearned later on the staff. When the staff isintroduced, the student becomes very skillful withstepwise movement upward and downward as well aswith repeated notes. Skips will be introduced in LevelB. Reading skills are greatly enhanced by the wordschosen for the pieces.INTERACTION On almost every page, there arecomments leading to "Interaction" between theteacher and student at the lesson. Such interaction isvaluable to the teacher in ascertaining whetherspecific concepts actually have been learned.Interaction is valuable to the student because suchfocused discussion and demonstration leads to quickerand more lasting musical development. If the studentis insecure with concepts, the teacher may wish toreview them.DIVISION INTO UNITS AVOIDED Lesson Books inALFRED'S BASIC PIANO LIBRARY are not dividedinto units. This allows the teacher to proceed at thecorrect learning pace of the individual student or ofthe group of students in a class lesson. When thestudent grasps and understands the concepts beingpresented, turn the page!CORE MATERIALS All new concepts are introducedin the Lesson Book. The Lesson Book, Theory Bookand Recital Book form the core of the course andshould be used with all students.THE IMPORTANCE OF SUPPLEMENTARYMATERIALS Numerous supplementary books andmaterials are available to coordinate with the LessonBook and strongly reinforce every musical principle.Teachers should choose supplementary materials tomeet the specialized needs of individual students andintroduce the new materials as recommended in thisGuide. These include the Activity & Ear TrainingBook, Christmas Joy Book, Notespeller and TechnicBook. To heighten interest, Select Music Solos areavailable for use from page 43 on. Mastery of themusical and technical information contained in thecore books, together with the supplementary books,will lead logically, comfortably and pleasurably tofurther musical growth.THE IMPORTANCEOFPRAISE Sincere praisefrom the teacher is one of the most motivating factorsin teaching piano. Praise often accomplishes morethan admonition. Since students learn somethingnew on practically every page of Prep Course LessonBook A, the teacher has the opportunity to remindthem that they are constantly making progress.RECORDINGS A compact disc and a General MIDIdisk are available. Both include a full piano recordingand orchestrated background accompaniment. Theuse of these recordings will aid the student inchoosing appropriate tempos and playing correctrhythms from the very beginning. In addition, therecordings reinforce the important concepts thatconstitute good musicianship. The recordings can beused in the lesson as a “reward” for learning the pieceor at home to encourage practice.The authors hope that this Teacher’s Guide will be asource of ongoing musical pleasure both to teachersand students.WILLARD A. PALMER, MORTON MANUS,AMANDA VICK LETHCOCopyright MCMXCIX by Alfred Publishing Co., Inc.All rights reserved. Printed in USA.


3THE FIRST PIANO LESSONThe first lesson requires careful planning and pacing.An ideal goal would be for the student to cover allmaterial as far as page 11 in the first lesson.Students who achieve this goal will go home with anintroduction to the following: Posture at the keyboard Fluent response to finger numbers Use of a little weight when dropping into a key tomake soft tonesNOTE: This is not a method of playing by FINGERNUMBERS! By beginning on the BLACK KEYS, thestudent learns fluent response to finger numberswithout associating any number with any specificKEY, black or white!BLACK KEYS are used as a beginning for thefollowing reasons: They “stick up” above the white keys and are easilyfound with eyes on the music, or even with the eyesclosed. Fingers curve easily on black keys. Use of more weight when dropping into a key tomake louder tones Black-Key groups make tuneful beginning pieces. Importance of playing with a rounded hand Black-Key groups will be used as the basis forlearning letter names of white keys. Awareness of Right hand and Left hand Concept of stepping up and stepping down thekeyboard Concept of low sounds and high sounds Recognition of groups of 2 black keys and 3 blackkeys qandh Bar lines Measures Double bar at end of piece “Sing Along!” (for left hand) “End of Song” (for right hand)Some of the pages from page 4 to 11 should be taughtquickly. This Teacher’s Guide will give suggestions forpresenting those pages that require special care andemphasis.IMPORTANT! At the first lesson, the following cannotbe overemphasized: Play with a rounded hand. Count aloud. Keep eyes ON MUSIC. LISTEN!These concepts become progressively more difficult ifneglected in the beginning. Avoid the necessity forremedial teaching in later lessons, after poor habitsare formed.

4GOALS Understanding andobserving good postureat the keyboard. Beginning to build agently rounded hand.KEY WORDS Sit tall! (A positivestatement is preferableto a negative one, suchas “Don’t slump.”) Arms hang loosely fromshoulders. (Relaxingshoulders preventstension in the arms.Lack of tension resultsin more beautiful tones.) Knees slightly under keyboard (for more armfreedom). Feet flat on a book or stool if student’s feet do notreach the floor (for security and balance). Curve your fingers! Curved fingers make it easierto play the piano. A rounded hand is helpful incontrolling tone and in playing smoothly. Hold the bubble gently! It is never too early todevelop playing without stiffness.INTERACTIONStudent reviews the posture points and demonstrateseach one, with the teacher’s help, if necessary.Student demonstrates the rounded hand position: In the lap. On a book. On the keyboard.MORE INTERACTIONStudent holds fingers straight. All fingers havedifferent lengths. Playing with fingers of differentlengths would be like trying to walk with legs ofdifferent lengths. When fingers are curved, lengthsbecome equal!SUGGESTED ASSIGNMENTS Pages 2–3 of Theory Book A.

5GOALS Preparation to ensuresuccess in first effortsat playing by helpingthe student learn to calleach finger into playat will. To make the studentaware of loud and softtones and how they areproduced. To teach the student toLISTEN. To continue building arounded hand.EMPHASIZEMoving fingers in the air in response to numbersasked for. This skill will make first efforts at playingeasier.ALTERNATE GAMESimon says, “Wiggle 2s,” etc.SUGGESTED ASSIGNMENTSIMPORTANT Pages 3–4 of Activity & Ear Training Book A.A little time spent here may save much time later. Pages 4–5 of Theory Book A.KEY WORDSDrop into key. Little weight soft tone. More weight louder tone. (For first efforts, have student playslowly in order to “feel” the difference, dropping intothe key with a little weight and then withmore weight.LISTENBefore you play any key, decide how you want it tosound. Do the tones sound as intended?SUGGESTIONLet the student observe the hammer striking stringsas you play a key (if construction of the pianopermits).INTERACTIONStudent and teacher take turns calling out somefingers to wiggle. Student makes some soft tones onrandom keys, then some louder tones.

6Proceed as rapidly aspossible on this page!GOALS To identify 2-black-keygroups. To gain a fluentresponse to fingernumbers 2 and 3. To understand conceptof HIGH notes andLOW notes.SUGGESTIONHold a page of paper overthe black keys, leavingonly the white keysshowing. All the white keysnow look alike. Remove the paper. The keyboard nowlooks different, and groups of 2 black keys are easy tofind.IMPORTANTBlack keys are used as an introduction to teachingkeyboard topography. Because they begin playing onblack keys, students will always feel at ease playingblack keys. Two black keys are first played together,then separately.EMPHASIZEWe go DOWN the keyboard to the LEFT. We go UPthe keyboard to the RIGHT.CONTINUING We STEP DOWN to neighboring keys withneighboring fingers: LH 2, 3. We STEP UP to neighboring keys with neighboringfingers: RH 2, 3.POINT OUTThe elephant is making low sounds with his trunk.The mouse is making high sounds on the flute.INTERACTIONThe student plays a STEP DOWN on several groupsof 2 black keys (LH finger 2, then 3). Student playsa STEP UP on several groups of 2 black keys(RH finger 2, then 3). Student plays several LOWnotes. Student plays several HIGH notes.SUGGESTED ASSIGNMENTS Page 5 of Activity & Ear Training Book A. Pages 6–7 of Theory Book A.

7Proceed as rapidly aspossible on this page!GOALS To identify 3-black-keygroups. To gain a fluentresponse to fingernumbers 2, 3 and 4 indifferent keyboardareas and to avoidassociating any fingerwith any key.EMPHASIZE“Next-door” keys areplayed by “next-door”fingers: 2, 3, 4.PRACTICE SUGGESTIONWithout playing the notes, move from one group of 3black keys to the next. (This gesture develops ease inmoving over the keyboard.) Do the same with groupsof 2 black keys.INTERACTIONThe student plays a STEP DOWN on several groupsof 3 black keys (LH finger 2, then 3 and 4). Studentplays a STEP UP on several groups of 3 black keys(RH finger 2, then 3 and 4).SUGGESTED ASSIGNMENTSINTERACTION Page 6 of Activity & Ear Training Book A. Student plays a low note from a group of 3 blackkeys, then a low note from a group of 2 black keys. Pages 8–9 of Theory Book A. Student plays a high note from a group of 3 blackkeys, then a high note from a group of 2 black keys. Student says “Go-ing down” while moving down thekeyboard playing all 3 black keys at once withLH 2, 3, 4. Student says “Go-ing up” while moving up thekeyboard playing all 3 black keys at once withRH 2, 3, 4.POINT OUTThe elephant is making low sounds and the mouse ismaking high sounds.

8CD 1GM 1 (33)*Teaching q here (thenlater h and ) movesfrom small to largernote values, thuseliminating the need tothink in fractions.wGOALS ANDOVERLAPPINGCONCEPTSShow the student thatfour new things are beinglearned: bar line,measure, q and counting.Other things are beingreviewed: left hand, lownotes, group of 2 blackkeys and the response toLH finger numbers 2 and 3.INTERACTIONThis concept of overlapping new information withinformation already grasped is a most importantteaching technique followed in Alfred’s BasicPiano Library.KEY WORDS Bar lines divide equal measures of fourthis piece.q s in Note-stems DOWN for LH notes. LH fingernumbers are under the note head. The words to the song tell the student veryimportant information. “Left hand playing,Hear the low notes!”The student claps and counts eight q s. Use anycounting system you prefer. The student plays “LeftHand Playing” in the air, moving 2 and 3 as indicated.(“Choreography” in the air is a useful technique thatprepares for later success on the keys.) Student pointsto bar lines and says how many q s are in eachmeasure.SUGGESTED ASSIGNMENTS Pages 7–8 of Activity & Ear Training Book A. Flash Card 1. Page 10 of Theory Book A.NOTEIt is always good to have the student sing the lyricswhen the words help teach the concepts. When thestudent is shy about singing, the teacher cansing along.POINT OUTLeft hand plays on the left page. The bears areholding up their left arms. Ask the student to hold uphis or her left arm.*Next to the GM icon is the corresponding Type 0 filenumber and, in parentheses, the Type 1 file number.

9CD 2GM 2 (34)OVERLAPPINGCONCEPTS qRhythm Bar lines RH 2-black-key group High notesGOALS To develop fluentresponse of RH fingers2 and 3. To introduce the doublebar at the end ofthe song. Student keeps eyes onthe music while playing.SUGGESTED ASSIGNMENTS Page 9 of Activity & Ear Training Book A.KEY WORDS Double bar line. Note-stems UP for RH notes. Eyes on music.IMPORTANTThe words of the song continue to tell the studentimportant information. “Right hand playing, Hear thehigh notes!”INTERACTIONThe student tells the teacher what is different aboutthe last bar line in the piece. The student claps andcounts “Right Hand Playing.” Use any countingsystem you prefer. The student should understandthat pages 8 and 9 combine to make one song.OBSERVATIONAsking questions is the way to discover exactly whatthe student has grasped. Review may be necessaryand will result in smoother progress.NOTERH plays on the right page. The bird is conductingwith his or her right wing. RH finger numbers areabove the note heads. Page 11 of Theory Book A.

10CD 3GM 3 (35)OVERLAPPINGCONCEPTS qRhythm Bar lines LH 3-black-key group MeasuresGOALS To

in Prep Course Lesson Book A of ALFRED'S BASIC PIANO LIBRARY. It gives the teacher considerable flexibility and is intended in no way to restrict the lesson procedures. FORM OF GUIDE The Guide is presented basically in outline form. The relative importance of each activity is reflected in the words used to introduce each portion of the outline, such as EMPHASIZE, SUGGESTION, IMPORTANT .

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