Teaching Bass Clef with Crazy Steps

Crazy Steps Lesson 2 with Emma – Aged 7

single-bunCatch up with Emma in her second lesson in Crazy Steps.

Continuing her work on re with Hot Cross Buns in lesson one, Emma is now discovering the Grand Staff and the Bass Clef. The DoReMi Piano approach is fun, creative and based on Kodály principles so you know that it’s the very best in sound before symbol teaching.

Lesson 2 Objectives

  • Present the Bass Clef and the Bass F line
  • Practise re and its key facts using Hot Cross Buns
    • re is higher than do and lower than mi
    • If do and mi are line notes then re is the space note in between
    • If do and mi are space notes then re is the line note in between

To start at the beginning of Emma’s journey visit the Teacher Guide for Crazy Steps.

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Teacher Guide for Crazy Steps

crazy-steps-web-a4

Crazy Steps with Emma – Aged 7

Emma has been taking piano lessons with Helen for four months and has also attended her monthly group classes. During that time she has worked through and completed Sing and Play.

She is an extremely enthusiastic and excited student. She loves the games and connects with Helen’s puppets and stories. She loves to sing.

Join us as we document her journey through Crazy Steps, the second book in the series be inspired to teach piano the Kodály way.

Through Sing and Play Helen has prepared, presented and practised steady beat and pulse, high and low pitch, rhythm names ta (crotchets/quarter notes) and titi (quavers/eighth notes) and the ta rest. She has also prepared, presented and practised the singing names or solfa do, so, mi and la. Helen and Emma prepared re during their Christmas lesson but it was not presented. Keyboard work has been on the black keys and Emma has mostly been using both hands but with single bouncing fingers.

Lesson 1

hot-cross-buns-rhythm-cardsIn Emma’s last lesson they started to look at the white keys and learnt that they are named after the musical alphabet ABCDEFG. Emma had discovered that she can use the patterns of the black keys to find certain letters. She practised finding all the Fs.

  • Present re and its key facts using Hot Cross Buns
  • Practise ta, titi and ta rest using Hot Cross Buns
  • Practise the Musical Alphabet and find the Fs on the keyboard

Read the full lesson 1 description here

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Autumn Fun

pumpkin-23479_1280So it’s the last week of school this week before the October half term holidays and I thought it would be fun to do some Autumn themed activities.

Rhythm Games

For students who are working their way through Sing and Play I have some pumpkin and leaf stick notation rhythms. There are loads of games you can play with these rhythm cards.

  • matching pairs game
  • Here sits a Mousie – see my previous post
  • Poison rhythms where you select one rhythm to be the poison. Then echo clap a variety of rhythms and if the student echoes the poison one then they are out
  • Post Office Rhythms – you clap the rhythms and leave one out. Each time the student hears a rhythm then they “post” the rhythm into a box or envelope (or just make a pile). See if the one that’s left at the end matches the one you left out

Pumpkin RhythmsLeaf Rhythms

Pumpkin and Leaves Stick Rhythms as pdf

Letter Name Race

For those who have moved onto letter names with Crazy Steps I have a fun racing game on the keyboard. Even my more advanced students enjoyed this game and some weren’t as fast as I’d hoped they would be!

You and the student place a counter on the lowest key on the piano. One of you takes the pumpkins and one takes the leaves. Turn over each card and move up the the next key that matches that letter. It’s a race to the top. You will need to reuse the cards to get to the top. If they are new to letter names they can count up the alphabet. However if they are more confident you should try and persuade them to recognise the keys by pattern, not counting.

Pumpkin LettersLeaf Letters

Pumpkin and Leaves Letter Names as pdf

Brand new manuscript book

A unique manuscript book designed with Kodály in mind. Suitable for instrumental and musicianship students, the 25 leaf book alternates blank pages with manuscript pages. This enables solfége students to write stick notation, pulse and pitch pictures and more on the left hand page and then transfer to the stave on the right.

Ideal for use with DoReMi Piano Book 2 and beyond as musicianship skills are developed alongside practical performance.

Wire bound, A5 portrait, 6 large staves per manuscript page.

Only £2.50 Buy it now!

DoReMi Manuscript Front Cover

Recital Video – Sing and Play – Matthew

On Saturday some of my students performed their favourite pieces from Sing and Play. I would like to share a couple of clips with you.

Matthew is in Year 1 (age 6) and has been learning music with me since he was a toddler. He started with general music classes based on the wonderful Kodály resource Jolly Music by Cyrilla Rowsell and David Vinden. When he started reception in 2013 we started more formal piano lessons with My First Piano Adventures and continued the Kodály work alongside. However he was struggling a little with notation reading and started to get frustrated. When I launched DoReMi Piano in the Autumn of 2014 he asked if he could start using those books. I agreed and he has made excellent progress since then. He is now confidently playing pieces from Crazy Steps, however for his recital he decided to play his favourite black key pieces from Sing and Play.

The speed of his success with DoReMi Piano is down to the excellent foundations that were created using the activities from Jolly Music and it would be a dream come true if all young children had the opportunity to study music in this way prior to starting formal instrumental lessons.

The pieces he is playing in the clip are:

Woof Woof – my own composition and a favourite with all my students, regardless of their age! Unlike most of the pieces in the book, it starts on the lower of the two pitches and also introduces the student to the idea that two pitches can be played at the same time, creating a chord.

See Saw – a highly popular song with Kodály practitioners and is included in Jolly Music. In DoReMi Piano we use it over and over to not only introduce the singing names “so” and “mi” but also work on steady pulse and the introduction of rhythm and rhythm names.

Here Sits A Mousie – my favourite of all of the songs in Book 1 and so versatile. We revisit it in Book 2 and there are so many different ways we can play with this song, both on and off the piano. Here is another article I wrote about this wonderful song.