Dear Parents,
Last week I pointed out that December is a good month for the children to be able to absorb and integrate the skills that we have been working on since the beginning of the school year. It would also be good for you to review what has been in the previous blogs and relate it to your child’s lessons.

On the Assignment:
Mental: You can follow through the group lesson activity of making alphabet/solfege snakes by starting on the lowest note of the piano “A” and saying the names of every white note. Then you can go back and do it again saying the solfege starting with “la”. Also, please continue finger numbers daily even though I did not do them with every student in the lessons.

Physical: The most important point I see for all the children right now is that there is enough time in the ready where the body becomes still. Actually this point will probably be true all the way through learning Book 1. So much learning is going on in the “ready” when it seems that nothing is happening. Because, “nothing” is the point of ready. You could also think of it as “everything” because they are two sides of the same thing. In”ready” the body finds balance in the position, the mind settles down from outside thoughts, and there is a feeling/awareness of the moment. The sound is internalized as intention. Then on “go” the student is on the natural rhythm.
When there is good body balance in the ready position the student can achieve the best sound. So, you will notice that I am always working to find the best position. I am deciding this by any tension I see, how the fingers are moving, and also by the sound the student is making. As you work with your child on the body balance in the ready position you will come to know when the position will produce the best sound.

So, the most important point to teach is tone/sound. The sound has vibration that rings and affects the human being on many levels. It is produced with a balanced body, a clear mind, a soft heart, and hearing awareness.

Inspiration:
Play beautiful music in your home. The Nutcracker recording* I recommended last week performed on 2 pianos with Martha Argerich is a wonderful recording that you will use for many years. Here is the You-Tube link to the recording:

I was very happy this week when I played my arrangement of the Pachelbel Canon/ First Noel for the children that a couple students recognized the Pachelbel Canon.

Sensibility/Emotional: The children love working out the new songs. I think the solfege singing has facilitated their ability to do this. Please continue singing solfege and naming the songs on the recording as you hear them. Also, it is wonderful if the students can share their own music with others. Each holiday I ask parents to make recording of their children playing piano to give to friends and family, post on Facebook, etc. It is fun to make a compilation of videos over several years as a Christmas present so even if the beginners aren’t playing songs yet it will be good to have the beginning steps recorded. Twinkle Twinkle is a fine Holiday song! Please read this article written and revised over the years:
The Gift of Giving

Environment:
Outside noise does effect the ability to concentrate. Ideally one can focus totally and not be distracted. However when there is quiet it is much easier to open up to the sound of the piano in the room. The children have become much more adjusted to being quiet in the studio. This week there was definitely more energy in the air with the Christmas decorations up. As the Christmas season becomes more busy, let’s work to make the studio quiet during lessons. Then in between the lessons as we are changing students it is fine to talk. The bow at the beginning is the signal for the room to become quiet, and the bow at the end is the signal that it is ok to move around and talk.

Happy Holidays!
Leah Brammer

*Nutcracker performed
on Two Pianos