Requirements: longer paper outlining some teaching strategies for two contrasting pieces of high standard (approx. grade 7 and above). Both musical and technical aspects should be addressed. 1800-2000 words
This essay would be outlining the teaching strategies for two high standard contrasting pieces which are the Toccata by Aram Khachaturian which is a modern piece, as well as the Consolation by Franz Liszt which is a romantic piece.
The first piece I am going to focus on is Toccata. I would explain to the student that the term Ã¢â‚¬Å“ToccataÃ¢â‚¬Â usually means that the piece generally emphasize on the dexterity of the performer. Basically, this Toccata is in the modern genre and is considered a Russian modern piece. Then I would move on to explain both of the musical terms found in this piece, namely Ã¢â‚¬Å“Allegro marcatissimoÃ¢â‚¬Â which means lively, fast and much accentuated and Ã¢â‚¬Å“Andante espressivoÃ¢â‚¬Â which means expressively in a moderate tempo. By doing so, the student would have a rough idea on the expectations of the listeners when this piece is played, as well as how this piece would sound like.
For the first few lessons, depending on the ability of the learner, I would focus mainly on the rhythms in Toccata. This is because, rhythm and notes happen to be the main core of this piece. The student would be required to tap the rhythm of the left and right hand together, as though they are playing the piece with both hands but without notes. Different students will definitely face different problems when tapping the piece. I have taught some students and a number of them face the some common problems. Therefore I have recorded where the problem is found and how IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve helped them overcome it in the following paragraphs.
On the first page, bar number 5, students with a weak foundation in rhythm would find it difficult to do it with both hands. Therefore I have taken the traditional approach to help them. First off, I would ask the student to identify where the main beat of the four crochets is. As shown in the printed copy of the score, the lines marked show where the main beat is. Then I would ask the student to tap the beat with their right hand and the rhythm for the left hand. For the first set of notes on the left hand, the pulse falls on the off beat then moves on to the beat itself on the second set of notes as shown on the score. When they have gotten used to the rhythm for the left hand, I would ask them to do the same for the right hand by tapping the beat on the left hand and tapping the rhythm for the right hand. Then the students are expected to co-ordinate both rhythms together.
Another problem some students would face is on page 9 when there are 9 sets on notes played to one beat. I would use the same method by asking them to identify the beat. However, rather than tapping out the rhythm, I would ask them to say it in terms of numbers instead. The reason is some students might have difficulty tapping nine set of notes to one beat because it would be really fast, therefore saying out loud is much more feasible.
Last common problem will be on the first four bars of page 10, it consist of some rather tricky rhythms too as three semi quavers on the right hand is played against two on the left hand. Rather than using the usual Ã¢â‚¬Å“jump Freddy jumpÃ¢â‚¬Â, I would use Ã¢â‚¬Å“Not Ve-ry HardÃ¢â‚¬Â. The Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ve-ryÃ¢â‚¬Â refers to the second semi quaver in the right hand, and the semi quaver that comes after it. By using this, it shows the student that these two notes have to be played one after another rather quickly, rather than played together.
At the end of each lesson, the student will be asked to briefly glance through the piece and identify the notes which are out of their common knowledge as homework. Examples of notes out of their common knowledge...
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