Creating Your Own Pop Tune- Lesson TWO

create your own pop songLast week, we started creating our very own Pop Song.

To do this, we learned a little bit about something called the Circle of Fifths, which pretty much most modern and Classical music is based on. You can find Lesson One here.

LEARNING CHECK-OFF

There are TWO things that you should be able to do before moving on with this lesson.

You should have:

  1. A chord progression that you’re happy with, written on your ‘Creating Tunes’ print out.
  2. Practiced enough to play the chord progression smoothly with a steady beat with both hands. The Right Hand is played four times with the Left Hand playing a single chord (root note).

Once you have BOTH of these things down pat, you’re ready to race onto the next step!

PLAYING

This week, we listened to various pieces of music with strong piano parts based on chords. We then applied the style of chord playing to our chord progression.

I’ve put the links to YouTube videos of the original songs, with a short tutorial about how to put it into practice for your own chord progression.

Your NEXT STEPS are:

  1. Look and listen to the introductions of each YouTube clip so you can hear the piano chords and the way they are played. Do this ONE at a time.
  2. Watch the Tutorial about how to apply the style to your own piece.
  3. Try your OWN chord progression of each song.

STYLE ONE: ‘LET IT BE’ (The Beatles)

The first NEW style we tried was from this classic Beatles tune. It uses TWO chords per bar, instead of FOUR.

Make it your own for your Pop Tune:

Try it out with your chord progression and see if you like it (both hands, please!)

STYLE TWO: ‘SOMEONE LIKE YOU’ (Adele) + REVERSE

Most students have been learning this big Adele hit. You can find out how to play it over here. We can use the same style of breaking up the chord with any chord progression. In musical terms, this is called an ‘arpeggio‘.

Some students also figured out you can do a reverse version of the Adele style. You can see more in the tutorial video.

Try it with your Pop Tune:

Here’s a different version of using arpeggios to create beautiful music (you don’t have to try it- it’s just to show you what CAN be done!):

STYLE THREE: ‘TALKING TO THE MOON’ (Bruno Mars)

This popular Bruno Mars tune breaks up chords differently again. I couldn’t find a link to a suitable official Bruno Mars version, so I’ve posted this Voice Kids official site link. Have a listen here:

Try the FOUR different versions we figured out of ‘Talking to the Moon’ style playing:

STYLE FOUR: ‘SKINNY LOVE’ (Birdy version)

This chord progression uses just ONE of each chord per bar (technically, it’s two chords per bar, but only one of each chord 🙂 ). This Birdy version uses an arpeggiated chord- it’s played much more quickly than we did in Someone Like You, and in a particular way which you can see in the tutorial section.

You might even hear some of the other chord styles we’ve used as you listen through the song!

Try it out on your chord progression:

STYLE FIVE: ‘NEVER TEAR US APART’ (INXS)

So far, we’ve only tried styles using 4 beats per bar. This keyboard introduction to the famous INXS song uses 6 beats per bar.

Give it a go with your own chord progression:

 

Now that you’ve tried each version, see how you’d like to arrange your Pop Tune:

Write it down so you remember, perhaps something like this….

20170922_090724[1]

Practice your NEW version of your Pop Tune chord progression until it’s smooth with a steady beat.

Okay- that’s all for this lesson! See you next time 🙂

 

Creating Your Own Pop Tune- Lesson ONE

create your own pop song

This week, we’ve started creating our very own Pop Song!

To do this, we learned a little bit about something called the Circle of Fifths, which pretty much most modern and Classical music is based on.

We used the Circle of Fifths to create what’s called a ‘Chord Progression’, which is the foundation of popular music.

PRINTING

You should have your own copy, but if you need a new one, or you’d like to create more pop chord progressions, simply CLICK on the image above and print away!

PLAYING

To start with, this week we are playing each chord FOUR times with the right hand, while the left hand holds the ‘root note’ of the chord. The Root Note is simply the note the chord is named after. For instance, a ‘C’ chord has the root note ‘C’. An ‘Em’ (E Minor) chord has the root note ‘E’.

To play the right hand chord, you simply use your thumb to play the root note, then skip a note, and skip another note. Play them all together. A ‘C’ chord would be C E G. An Em chord would be E G B.

Because we are creating a tune based on the C Major scale, there are NO sharps or flats (black notes) to worry about when you play the chords. You’ll only need white notes.

I created this short video to help remind you of how to begin playing your new piece:

 

That’s lesson one for creating your own Pop Song!

A piece that gives a really good example of how chords are used to create fabulous popular music is Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’, that many of you have been learning.

Click the image below to find everything you need to know about how to play the piano accompaniment for this famous piece

Someone Like You

Someone Like You

Here’s all the info you need to successfully play Adelle’s ‘Someone like You’….

STEP ONE

Get familiar with the piece.

Listen to the song on your device of choice, or have at look at Adelle’s music video.

STEP TWO

Print out your music:

someone like you MUSIC PDF button

And your lyrics, if you’d like…

Someone Like You

STEP THREE

Know the order to learn the piece in.

Learn the piece in this order:

  1. Verse
  2. Chorus
  3. Bridge

STEP FOUR

Know what you’re aiming for.

You are looking to play the piece

  • smoothly, fluently, and with feeling
  • keeping a steady beat

To do this, you will need to use some practice strategies

We’ve been using the practice strategies from The Curious Piano Teachers.

Learning Strategy 1: The Magic 3 Strategy 

  • Break the music into smaller chunks and practice each part until you can play it correctly THREE times in a row.
  • Do this first with JUST the right hand, then JUST the left hand, then JOIN them together.
  • Practice the next part in the same way, then use your Magic 3 to put the two sections together.
  • Keep going through each small section, joining each section to the next, until you’ve mastered the whole verse, then the whole chorus, then the whole bridge, then the whole song.

This piece is easy to break into small chunks! Your printed copy has four keyboards on each page. Each keyboard show you ONE chord pattern. Each chord pattern is the small section to learn and memorize.

Learning Strategy 2: Snail Speed

  • To help you keep a steady beat (and learn the chord patterns correctly), GO SLOWLY
  • Use a metronome or beat keeping device on your keyboard.

STEP FIVE

Use the YouTube tutorials to help you decipher, understand and play the music.

You’ll notice the Verse & Chorus have a different version of ‘sheet music’. Use your PDF from this page, and you’ll notice it’s still the same patterns- just easier to understand 🙂

Remember:

  • Stop & play each section until you get the hang of it
  • Pause the tutorial whenever you need to
  • Stop the tutorial and practice joining each section together, once you’ve learned a new section

Verse

Chorus

Bridge

Incy Wincy Spider

INCY WINCY SPIDER

Incy Wincy Book

The book we were working with this term is called ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’ by Kate Toms. It’s a great story about problem solving and perseverance. The collaged illustration are gorgeous!

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

There are a mix of rote learning and music reading pieces for Incy Wincy.

The simple music reading pieces in the booklet are designed to help recognize patterns both on the page and the piano, and how they relate to each other:

  • when the music on the page goes UP, the notes go UP on the piano;
  • if the written music goes DOWN, the notes on the piano goes DOWN.

(you should have a printed copy, but you can print another if you need, by clicking the image to the left).

This is to help students begin to learn how music reading and playing work together.

The aim is for smooth, fluent playing. There’s lots of pitch games, singing and note singing that we use to help with this.

Other pieces are rote learning pieces, which help children to:

  • develop musical understanding
  • recognise and learn patterns
  • develop memory skills by remember patterns and their order
  • listen to their playing, how their piece sounds
  • play musically and fluently
  • remain motivated and engaged in playing the piano
  • increase concentration
  • evoke creativity
  • develop technique
  • actually help children develop music reading skills (!)

 

PURCHASE

I purchased the rhyming picture book from a cheap shop for under $5 a few years ago. You can try purchasing it here if you’d like a copy for home.

PRINT

Click on the picture to the left to download a copy of the PRINT version, in case your child has lost their copy.

There are copies of the single page sheets next to the tutorials, too.

WHAT WE DID

You’ll see some of the ways we used the book as a guide as we play the song on the video below.

VIDEO TUTORIAL

There’s a few tutorials for the Incy Wincy songs:

THE SPIDER SONG (main piece)

The rest of the pieces and PDFs can be found on the comprehensive newsletter here.

 

 

We’re Going On An Egg Hunt

WE’RE GOING ON AN EGG HUNT

we-re-going-on-an-egg-huntIn Term 1, we worked with the Laura Hughes’ book ‘We’re Going on an Egg Hunt’.

It’s a great rhyming book, with plenty of repetition. Rhyme and repetition make for fantastic musical pieces!

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

This is a ‘rote’ learning piece, where the child learns to play it by copying and memory.

I created a simple PDF to help with visual memory, which you can download by clicking on the book image to the left.

Rote learning pieces help children to:

  • develop musical understanding
  • recognise and learn patterns
  • develop memory skills by remember patterns and their order
  • listen to their playing, how their piece sounds
  • play musically and fluently
  • remain motivated and engaged in playing the piano
  • increase concentration
  • evoke creativity
  • develop technique
  • actually help children develop music reading skills (!)

Reading music for young people involves so many skills. They are usually so focussed on recognising and playing the correct notes that listening skills and musicality are hindered. It is not that learning to read music is not important, it is simply that other skills, such as LISTENING and PLAYING MUSICALLY also need developing.

For more information, you might like to check out Dr. Julie Knerr and Katherine Fisher’s article over here.

There’s also an interesting PodCast with creative Ozzie piano teacher, Tim Topham and Amy Greer over here.

PURCHASE

Just before Easter, I purchased the rhyming picture book from Kmart for $10, and created a simple tune out of it. You can try purchasing it here if you’d like a copy for home.

PRINT

Click on the picture to the left to download a copy of the PRINT version, in case your child has lost their copy.

WHAT WE DID

You’ll see some of the ways we used the book as we play the song on the video below.

  • This is a piece for BOTH hands using groups of THREE black notes.
  • There are TWO simple patterns to remember- one goes DOWN, the other goes UP.
  • These patterns alternate with each page turn.
  • The pictures are a huge part of the experience! Your child will love showing you the different pictures, anticipating which animals are coming next, where the ‘shadowy’ figure is (the wolf’s tail keeps appearing on each egg collecting page), counting the eggs collected so far, counting the eggs that drop out of the basket as the bunnies run away (and if the eggs left match the eggs on the last page).
  • We used an Easter Hunt game to find the note D on the piano.
  • We played Dinosaurs and Dragons to help consolidate our memory of the note D.

 

VIDEO TUTORIAL

There’s a YouTube tutorial of Jethro playing along with me over here: https://youtu.be/_nn3K3OBAmg

 

INTRODUCING ‘D’

I used this game as part of my ‘We’re Going on an Egg Hunt’ rote learning piece. It’s a great way to introduce or reaffirm the note ‘D’ for young learners.

YOU WILL NEED

  • Plastic Eggs that break in half from a cheap store
  • Miniature plastic Dinosaurs that fit on piano keys
  • Basket
  • We’re Going on an Egg Hunt book by Laura Hughes

WHAT TO DO

  1. Place a dinosaur in 9 eggs and hide them around the room. You’ll end up with 9 eggs after the excitement of the last and tenth egg in the book, if that’s what you’re using.
  2. Play the ‘We’re going on an egg hunt’ page with the student, and open the flaps to see how many eggs to gather. The student then finds that many eggs and collects them in a basket.
  3. Play the next pages until it’s time to collect eggs again.
  4. Students will not collect an egg for the last, big egg. Go straight onto the next pages and finish the song. It’s quite exciting!
  5. Once the piece is finished, open the eggs to find the DINOSAURS. Ask which letter the word DINOSAUR starts with.
  6. Show that the note D is between a group of TWO black notes on the piano.

D7. Ask your child to place a dinosaur on every D they can find on the piano.

This is a great way to lead into a game of Dinosaurs and Dragons.

Dinosaurs and Dragons

DSC_0311

This is a great game to help students recognise the note D on the piano.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Mini plastic dinosaurs or small erasers. Preferably something that starts with ‘D’.
  • Piano

WHAT TO DO

D

  1. Ask your student to place the dinosaurs onto all the Ds they can find on the piano (between a group of TWO black notes- see above).
  2. Choosing a spare dinosaur, invite your student to touch their dino onto every D they find going UP. Your hand will be the DRAGON chasing them, playing all the white keys.
  3. They need to get to the top of the piano first, without getting gobbled up by your hand. Adjust your speed for the student’s capacity. Make it fun! Use ‘chasing words’, like, ‘The dragons coming to get you…oops- nearly got you…I’m getting closer’, all in a fun and humorous way.
  4. In the excitement, the child may accidentally skip some Ds. Let them know that the game is about playing EVERY D note very clearly. Demonstrate a ‘clear’ note, and what it sounds like when they hit more than one note at a time. SLOW DOWN a little if they are excitedly skipping notes. Gently let them know if they’ve skipped a D on the subsequent passes, and give them time to go back and play it.

VARIATIONS

  • Go up the piano
  • Go down the piano
  • Use left hand up & down
  • Use right hand up & down
  • Remove dinosaurs on the keys when student is ready.

DINOSAUR ROAR

DINOSAUR ROAR

Dinosaur Roar coverThe book we were working with last term was called ‘Dinosaur Roar’ by Paul and Henrietta Stickland.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

This is a ‘rote’ learning piece, where the child learns to play it by copying and memory.

I created a simple PDF to help with visual memory, which you can download by clicking on the book image to the left.

Rote learning pieces help children to:

  • develop musical understanding
  • recognise and learn patterns
  • develop memory skills by remember patterns and their order
  • listen to their playing, how their piece sounds
  • play musically and fluently
  • remain motivated and engaged in playing the piano
  • increase concentration
  • evoke creativity
  • develop technique
  • actually help children develop music reading skills (!)

Reading music for young people involves so many skills. They are usually so focussed on recognising and playing the correct notes that listening skills and musicality are hindered. It is not that learning to read music is not important, it is simply that other skills, such as LISTENING and PLAYING MUSICALLY also need developing.

For more information, you might like to check out Dr. Julie Knerr and Katherine Fisher’s article over here.

PURCHASE

I purchased the rhyming picture book from Kmart for $10, and created a simple tune out of it. You can try purchasing it here if you’d like a copy for home.

PRINT

Click on the picture to the left to download a copy of the PRINT version, in case your child has lost their copy.

WHAT WE DID

You’ll see some of the ways we used the book as we play the song on the video below.

  • This is a piece for BOTH hands using groups of THREE black notes.
  • There are TWO simple patterns to remember- one goes DOWN, the other goes UP.
  • These patterns alternate with each page turn.
  • You can add DYNAMICS (loud, soft, fast, slow) with the pages of the book.
  • Your child will LOVE discussing the pictures as you go through!

VIDEO TUTORIAL

There’s a YouTube tutorial of Aiden playing along with me over here: https://youtu.be/PsFVgwa2cfA

 

Semester Two is on it’s way….

Dear Parents,

I do hope you’ve been having a WONDERFUL holiday!

As this rainy weather sets in, my son and I are heading over to the Yorke Peninsula for a lovely time of rest and relaxation. We’ve had all sorts of fun here in our house, with Magic card tournaments, a day of role playing game organising, and movie days. Grant (my hubby) and our daughter get to stay and have fun working and studying!

I’ve also been having loads of fun planning out the coming term, with Incy Wincy Spider music and games for our little learners; and some interesting challenges and a Pop Rock Concert planned for our older learners.

Image result for incy wincy spider book pop concert

There’s some printing you may need to do, so I’ll send through the information you’ll need at the start of next week. I don’t want to overwhelm you with lots of things to do on this email.

POP ROCK CONCERT

Something Grade 2s upward will need to think about is a tune they’d like to play for the Pop Rock Concert. Some people have already decided on their pieces! It can be a modern tune, a song from a movie your child loves, a pop or rock piece, the Blues…whatever modern type of tune they’d like to learn this term.

The concert will be held either late in the term or early next term. We’ll have to gauge how things are going with the children’s learning and practice process, alongside other school events. At this stage, I’m planning for it to be for my students and parents, not a whole school concert. Hopefully, the smaller audience will give each student a bit more confidence in giving it a go. I’ve even said I might play something, too!

INVOICES

Because I’ll be away until school commences, I’ve asked my dear daughter, Kaela, to once again help out with sending out your invoices. You’ll find it attached.

If there are any problems, please TEXT me as I won’t be able to respond via email until Sunday. I may take a little time to get back even via text due to the very poor mobile coverage in my parent’s beach house. My mobile number again is 04 000 51 007.

END OF SEMESTER ROUND-UP

I’ve compiled a small list of highlights we’ve been up to over the past semester. This is by no means an exhaustive list! We’ve done so much, it’s impossible to cover it all.

There’s been so much fantastic learning. I can’t wait for next term!

Egg Hunt

Dinosaur Roar cover

Dinosaur Roar Activities

practice challengeFind a Note Challengeactivities

Plus, our Piano Recital participants got their Congratulations card and little gift a the end of the term.

congratualations!  back of congrats

 

Well, happy holidaying! And I’ll see you in your inbox at the start of the school week.

 

See-Saw Activities

practical theory

The last couple of weeks of term saw us learning about:

  • pitch- highs and lows
  • rhythm- tas & ti-tis
  • how to distinguish between the two and
  • how they work together
We explored each of these things through a See-Saw activity.

DSC_0161[1]PITCH

We moved our bodies UP and DOWN for HIGH and LOW sounds in the See Saw tune. It’s a simple tune with only 2 notes.

We then used a simple floor staff to map out each note of the song as HIGH or LOW.

We stepped and jumped across the notes, singing as we went. Some students rearranged the notes to see how it would sound!

DSC_0160[1]DSC_0158[1]To explore RHYTHM together, we discovered that See Saw has 8 beats in total.

The whole tune is comprised of 4 tas and 4 ti-tis.

The students ordered the rhythms correctly on the beats (we used hearts to represent each beat, because hearts beat!).

We also noticed that See Saw and Rain Rain are EXACTLY the same in terms of pitch and rhythm. Only the words are different.

Many students then went on to play another tune using the basic pitch notes of E and G, called Kangaroo, Skippy Roo. They were excited to learn a piece they knew from school music lessons!

black5_1

COMPARE & CONTRAST

We noticed that the last part of the tune moves in the same pattern from G to C- all the way down the fingers- as Big Black Train:

G F E D C C C

The two blues notes are not the same as Big Black Train.

Noticing similarities and differences between different pieces of music is a wonderful, higher order way of thinking and learning.

DSC_0163[1]Some students have been creating a second composition during the past lessons together. Another great way to see how rhythm and pitch work together in creating music.

thank youThank you all for such a lovely term of music together!