Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Demonstrating Staccato

"Guess what I am?" 

   This is what I asked Grace when she came to her lesson this week as I was jumping on the rebounder. She guessed! I'm a staccato note! She was so excited to try, she jumped right on and became a series of staccato notes as I played "Maracas" by Kevin Olson*.
This is such a fun way for me to not just explain, but actually demonstrate what I want them to do with their fingers and hands and arms when playing staccato notes. I told my students that it was not so much about about how we hit the note, as much as it was how we get off the note. Like getting off the trampoline by jumping up. As I demonstrated, she could quickly see the object wasn't to jump and land, but to jump up and up and up again. She went to the piano and executed this articulation perfectly; making her hands "jump on the trampoline". 

   Then it was my turn to jump while she played "Maracas". The fun thing about "Maracas" is that its not just a series of staccato notes, but it contains what I think are MUCH needed counted quarter rests. So when we were jumping, we also had fun trying to quickly stop jumping for each quarter rest. She said she never expected to get so much exercise during a piano lesson. Thanks for a fun tune, Kevin! And for a fun lesson, Grace! 

*This piece is located in Helen Marlais' 
Succeeding at the Piano, Lesson & Technique Book- Grade 1. 

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