Audrey was learning an “easy” Tango. Sometimes Audrey has a hard time with rhythm, so it’s important to get a new rhythm in her ear correctly right from the start.
(I’ve written about how we’ve used Post-Its to work wonders with her in the past.)
This particular rhythm has two parts: one snazzy and one boring. I wanted HER to discover which was which.
“Audrey, close your eyes,” I said.
“Just close your eyes.”
Hmmm. Now that she has her eyes closed I had to think of something fast. I grabbed some pink Post-Its and stickers and made a Peek-a-Book Window.
The Peek-A-Boo Window. What child wouldn’t want to know what’s behind it?
“OK, you can open your eyes now.”
She saw the Puppy and Lizard. Huge smile.
“Oooooohhhhh, that’s so cute!”
Whew. She’s buying in.
The boring part.
“Audrey, there are two parts in each measure. One of them is BORING. One of them is snazzy. Pull off the lizard or the puppy and see if you can tell which is which.”
It took a minute for her to decide to pull off the Lizard.
“What do you think? Snazzy or boring?” I asked.
“Well, it looks pretty boring to me!”
“Put the Lizard back and try the Puppy.”
The snazzy part.
“Definitely snazzy! That’s much snazzier!” she said proudly.
Finally, we took both of them off and looked at the entire measure. I needed her to be as interested in the “boring” notes as the snazzy ones. I knew that otherwise the rhythm would never be stable.
The entire rhythm.
Before she played it, we practiced saying “Snaz-zy and BOR-ING” in the rhythm of the measure. The stage was set for a successful tango rhythm.
Audrey after teaching herself the tango rhythm.
I keep scads of tiny stickers like these around for things like Peek-A-Boo windows. They’re cheaper per sticker, and the kids like the tiny size.
Simplifying a visual task for a student can be as easy as covering a part with Post-it Tape. Compare these two images and see which one you’d prefer to decipher.
Wouldn’t this make it easier for your student? The piece is from Attention Grabbers Book Two.
I use this Post-it Note Tape daily in my studio to cover up whatever I want a student to ignore for the time being. For many students, asking them to play the right or left hand alone is asking too much. Why not cover up the other hand’s notes? The possibilities are endless.
P.S. The Tango Audrey was learning was from Elissa Milne’s P Plate Piano Book Three. (I’m very sorry that if you live in the states you can’t get these books. They’re groundbreakingly brilliant. If you live in Australia-snap them up!)
You can, however, get her Little Peppers Books in the states which are also equally fabulous.