Level 1, Lesson Book, Pg. 40 In this video, Nancy guides Phillip through a “spooky half-step” activity. This compositional game actively engages Phillip and allows him to demonstrate his understanding of half-steps in a creative and expressive way. Short creative forays at the lesson allow the student’s personality to emerge,…

Level 1, Technique and Artistry, Pg. 6, Wrist Float-Offs Ending a phrase with a gentle lift is a technical “secret” that will last a lifetime. Suggesting that a balloon lifts the wrist and guides it to float up and off captures the idea of flexibility and relaxation. Trying the “wrist…

Level 1, Technique and Artistry, Pg. 12 Vivian’s popcorn is crisp and bouncy. The white keys are a “stovetop” sure to produce “super” staccatos, whether loud or soft. A simple F-A-C accompaniment keeps the beat steady and reinforces the staccato. It also leads to an improvised exchange between “talking” popcorn…

Level 1, Technique and Artistry, Pg. 8 The difference between legato and staccato is not just a matter of technique. Playing each touch also involves listening. Quick changes between staccato and legato and phrases in which the touches vary prepare the hand and the ear to respond in different settings.…

Level 1, Lesson Book, Pg. 33, Russian Sailor Dance Playing in different ranges sounds different and feels different. “Old,” “Young Adult,” and “Child” sailors have separate moods, dynamics, and speeds. The accompaniment varies, too, in keeping with the “age” and tempo. At slower tempos there is time and need for…

Level 1, Lesson Book, Pg. 38, Two-Note March Talk about bringing tonic and dominant to life! What begins as a simple piece expands into ear training and harmonization. All these activities sharpen Emily’s attention, listening skills, and imagination in the most natural, musical way. Changing ranges and tempos shows Emily…

Level 3A, Performance Book, Pg. 16, Malagueña Spanish music invites liberties—like bending the rhythms and adding melodic flourishes to the modal harmonies. The triplets in this dance make elastic circles, and Sam adds a bit of original rhythmic spice to the melody. The melodic dips in the middle section surge…

Level 2A, Technique and Artistry Book, Pg. 12, Colorful Sunset Guiding a student to play artistically connects movements with sounds. This happens gradually as the student focuses on certain elements of music-making, then begins to fuse these as pieces vary and become more sophisticated. Here the sun glows warmly as…

Theory Book, Level 1, Pg. 4, Ferris Wheel In this video, Nancy Faber and Charlotte create an exciting Ferris Wheel Ride duet.  Charlotte must listen for tempo changes as she improvises in this activity that incorporates both ear-training and improvisation.

There are too many lofty myths regarding original composition. It is true that Mozart wrote music (even a small concerto) before some of us could read. But you don’t have to be a Mozart to compose music.