Update on my 4 year old

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scrouch
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Update on my 4 year old

Post by scrouch » 05 Mar 2011, 20:01

Hi,

I came on this board last year looking for advice about piano lessons for my daughter. It has been about 6 months now so I thought I'd send an update and get some feedback and ask for some more advice. She turned 4 in December.

A is going to piano lessons every other week at the moment and loves it. She has been doing a bit of Jazz along with classical.

Here are some videos of her playing. Not perfect of course :). The most recent videos are at the bottom.
Grade 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBnrblFjDC0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHtdelFgWPI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1bu_YoI_w0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IczFmefzqk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgT5MVDgKhY

Grade 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VYgxlgF51g
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1iB0RpDAJM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llm-SZXRJQY

Bach pieces
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NO-dkG6-5mQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCzp-4BBj7w
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fnqHMqZ7IA

She is reading the music comfortably now but her ear is still very good and she often prefers to guess/listen for the notes as opposed to reading the music. Do you have any suggestions how I can get her to read a bit more. Once she has played a piece a few times she memorizes it. When I introduce new songs she reads the music. I imagine it would be good for her to read the pieces as she plays them so she can focus on the dynamics and fingering and such.

Also, she tries to add the dynamics to pieces. How strict should we be in terms of these? I don't want to be so strict she stops enjoying playing the pieces.

Thanks.

Sanna
Last edited by scrouch on 07 Mar 2011, 08:53, edited 1 time in total.

markymark
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Re: Update on my 4 year old

Post by markymark » 06 Mar 2011, 03:02

I watched about five of the videos and as I made my way through them I could see the progression and development, particularly in her hand position. In the first couple of videos, her fingers were rather straight and she seemed to be pressing the keys with most of her finger as opposed to the finger tips. As we move on in time, I can see her starting to curve her fingers so that she can use her finger tips. Incidentally, this will also help her to play fast-moving phrases and pieces in effect, with greater pace and accuracy.

Memorization is not a crime because it improves a performance - performing a piece while reading music is more restrictive than memorizing . I am glad though that she is reading the music because that will help develop her sight-reading skills. It's amazing how many people can go as far as Grade VII or VIII and yet, still be very weak sight readers.

As far as dynamics go, most of the pieces at her level would normally only include p (soft) and f (loud), possibly mf or mp contrasted depending on the book level and author. I don't think it would do any harm to point these out subtly. As you say, you don't want to discourage the child but bear in mind that children are more impressionable when they are younger and good habits should be developed as soon as possible (if she is capable of it) without over-doing it. The fact that she is trying to do it shows a developing awareness of dynamics.

As she matures as a musician, she will be able to use dynamics to interpret pieces but obviously that is a long while off yet! Good progress is evident from the progression of the videos - well done!

scrouch
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Re: Update on my 4 year old

Post by scrouch » 07 Mar 2011, 08:58

Thanks for taking the time to have a look at the videos and for your feedback.

I'll try to keep encouraging her to add the dynamics and hopefully, since she is young, in time it might become automatic.

It was reassuring to hear that memorization is not necessarily a bad thing. I will look at the sightreading books and try to make sure she has new material around so that she does have to read the music from time to time.

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