It’s Performance Class week again. Last night I had my Late Elementary Class – 7 students, 3 of whom are doing exams next week (1 grade 2 and 2 grade 3s). The others had prepared their Top 5 List of pieces (also available in Printables), 2 of which will be played in the year-end recital which happens June 18.
I always over-prepare for these classes – I certainly don’t want to run out of things to do with a group. All the planned activities are valuable and worth spending time on. However, with all the playing that needed to be done, there was little time for anything else.
This was my plan:
1. Listening Activity: I play a piece, then the students write in the articulation and dynamics on a score.
2. Exam students: play their List A, B, and C pieces. Practice waiting in silence in between the pieces, as this is what happens during an exam. I’ll make lots of scratchy pencil noises.
3. Other students play 3 of their Top 5 pieces.
4. Listening activity – cadence identification. Introduce the perfect and deceptive cadences. Have them stand when they hear a perfect, or remain sitting and raise eyebrows when they hear a deceptive.
5. Have all students play the rest of their pieces or studies.
6. Listening activity: triad identification. This is a review from a previous class. Stand for major, sit for minor, squat for diminished.
7. Pattern Play (by Forrest Kinney) – improvise with me while other students play various percussion instruments. Rotate so that everyone gets a chance at the piano.
8. If there is still time, do a rhythmic dictation with half notes, quarter notes and eighth notes.
This is how things really happened:
1. Listening Activity as above. I played 4 bars of a piece by Jon George. The students each had a copy of the music and they wrote in the articulation and dynamics that they heard. Decoding symbols on the page to play the music is one thing; listening and writing in the symbols correctly is another skill altogether. What is so obvious to those of use who have spent a lifetime in music is not obvious to students.
2. The exam students played their list pieces.
3. The other students played their Top 5 pieces.
4. The exam students played their studies.
That was it. No improvising, no cadences, no follow-up on the triad identification, no rhythmic dictation. I ended up coaching some of the pieces a bit more than I thought I would. For the last Performance Class of the year, this was probably an appropriate way to spend the time.