Hand signs and pitch training
Solfege forms one of the components of music training with the Dalcroze approach. As we discussed in our previous blog post, music training with solfege follows the french way of calling the alphabet letters used in reading music. In English of course we call the names of the notes on the piano as C, D, E, F, G, A, B and then C again. In Solfege, the notes are called Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti, Do. And I was delighted to see when I discovered this toy xylophone in Hong Kong that had the solfege syllables written on it using the Japanese characters Katakana writing that said Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, Ra (for La), Te (for Ti) and Do.
Along with naming the notes, solfege training incorporates aspects of Kodaly with the use of the hand signs popularised by John Curwen. I am very fond of kinaesthetic approaches to learning and was so pleased to discover these hand signs. The posters that I like to use in my classes are from Lindsay Jervis and are available from the Teachers website if you click on the image above. The handsigns are a fun way to use interval training, by moving our hands up the higher up in pitch we go, and moving our hands down as we go down in pitch. I know for myself I found it helped significantly for me to get to grips with pitch. And even though we are taking piano lessons and not singing lessons, pitch training is a vital part of our piano lessons as it is something you will be tested on "aural tests" when you sit your graded piano exam with ABRSM.
And if you cannot make it to class you may want to join our preschool piano homeschooling programme where you get regular training via videos, live videoconferencing and a workshop and recital half way through the year in July/August.
In our classes we cover the musical concepts covered in the ABRSM Piano Prep Test being
• Sense of pitch
• Sense of rhythm
• Control of tone
• Listening skills and awareness
We incorporate digital technologies and dalcroze methodology to our piano classes to make them fun for the children while they learn. We use dancing and musical games including music statutes, Clapping the beat and echoes, Finding the notes the pitch work and music theory games.
On graduation of our piano prep classes your child will then be ready to begin classes with a local piano teacher to sit the ABRSM exams. For more details on the Piano Prep Test view the pdf/websites below:
This is a more structured lesson, so the same activities are done in the same order each week (building on the prior lesson).
Lessons will be held weekly in Allestree on mondays from 4.30-5.30pm.
This is a group lesson open to a maximum of 8 children and their carers.
The first 30 minutes will be a taught lesson where parents are required to participate and the last 30 mins is free time for the children to play with the percussion and ribbons etc and dance to music, while the parents can chat & relax or use their phones etc.
The 30 min structured lesson will consist of 10 mins rhythm games, 10 mins solfege training and 10 mins improvisation work but all three activities will tie in together in learning to play a song and/or learn music theory.
We incorporate some kodaly but mostly take a dalcroze approach to our lesson with games and learning by doing, ie kinaesthetic learning style.
These group classes will cost £5 per student payable in advance for the term. So if you know anyone with children who may want to come along please ask them to contact me.
I am also starting a homeschool piano online programme shortly where I will upload activities that parents can do at home during the week with the children and this will include a lot of work found in the lessons of the tutor books wunderkeys and piano adventures and get set ready. Access to the homeschool piano will be free for you and all the students who enrol in face to face class.
And of course it you're unable to make it to our Monday class then you can still benefit by signing up to our online piano homeschooling programme.