All About Ornaments

The following ornament table is a transcription of the one appearing in the Clavier-Büchlein vor Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, written by Johann Sebastian Bach for the keyboard instruction of his eldest son.

A scan of the original manuscript appears at Dave’s J.S. Bach Page.

The German title translates as “Explanation of various signs, showing how to play certain ornaments correctly.”{1} Bach gives the sign for each ornament on the upper of the paired staves, while the lower shows its execution directly beneath.

(This blog has) simply modernized the clefs in my transcription, since Bach’s manuscript uses soprano clefs, as several composers continued to do throughout the 18th century in place of the treble clef now used in all keyboard music.

After the transcription graphic showing the table, there appear clickable buttons which are keyed to AU sound files; you can click on any of the ornaments and hear a sound file play its execution.

ornaments

Read the original blog post with the ornament table and listening files at J.S. Bach’s Ornament Table.

NoteWorks App

 

There’s a new app in the studio! It’s called NoteWorks and it looks like it will be fun for the students.  NoteWorks is an engaging, fun game, designed to teach note reading.

Beginners use NoteWorks as a terrific alternative to flash cards. More advanced students use the full version to practice key signatures with up to seven sharps and flats in multiple clefs.

Kids love the app because it’s fun and addictive. Teachers and parents love how the game improves students’ note recognition and sight reading skills.

If you want this for home use, it’s available for iPhone, iPad and Android.  The cost for the full version for home use is a one time fee $4.99, directly in the app.  More info at https://doremiworld.com/Games/NoteWorks

I already have my students set up so we can use this during lessons, but let me know if you plan to use this at home and I’ll give you the code to connect to the studio account.

The objective of this game is to teach note recognition and improve sight reading skills. Game options include treble and bass clefs (with the grand staff option) as well as tenor and alto clefs.

Students may identify notes using the piano keyboard and practice using the Do, Re, Mi or the A, B, C note naming. The game starts by teaching a limited range of notes, with the range gradually increasing. As the players acquire basic note reading skills, the game becomes more challenging, with the introduction of accidentals, and subsequently key signatures.

 

Summer Camp is Now In Session!

 

A NEW version of Piano Maestro has arrived with Summer Camp (YAY!), new engine for improved note recognition and multiple bug fixes! Make sure to update your app to get:

***Summer Camp!
– Tune in each week to see which free song will be released for your students to learn and play
– “Johnny B Goode” by Chuck Berry is this week’s first song
– Available in three versions (easy, melody line and 2 hand version), songs can be accessed from the main menu or the new Summer Camp category in the Library
– Each week, a top student with 3 stars will be awarded a gift card!

***NEW next-generation MusicSense engine for improved sound recognition for those of you that have been experiencing a few issues.

***We also made multiple bug fixes thanks to your feedback, such as better looking clefs and song audio snippets now play properly. And, of course the icon got a summer makeover 😎

Enjoy!

Daily Listening Assignment ~ June 6

 

What can I say about John Cage’s 4′33″?  Pretty much anyone can play this anytime.

It consists of the pianist going to the piano, and not hitting any keys for four minutes and thirty-three seconds. (He uses a stopwatch to time this.) In other words, the entire piece consists of silence or rests.

On the one hand, as a musical piece, 4’33” leaves almost no room for the pianist’s interpretation: as long as he watches the stopwatch, he can’t play it too fast or too slow; he can’t hit the wrong keys; he can’t play it too loud, or too melodramatically, or too subduedly.

On the other hand, what you hear when you listen to 4’33” is more a matter of chance than with any other piece of music — nothing of what you hear is anything the composer wrote.

With orchestra and soloist

Next time you come to a lesson and haven’t practiced, just tell me you’re playing Cage’s 4’33”!

Daily Listening Assignment ~ June 4

 

I’m sure many have you have learned Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star by now.  Did you know its’ the same melody as the ABC Song?  You know…

Don’t believe it? Sing them both in your head or out loud.

The French melody first appeared in 1761, and has been used for many children’s songs, such as “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”, “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” and the “Alphabet Song”.

This is one of the first pieces a student learns in piano methods, since it has them reach just a bit outside their accustomed hand position on the word “little”.

 

Twinkle

 

I try to remember to let students know that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed a set of twelve variations on the theme “Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman” for the piano and it started as the same basic Twinkle tune.

The sheet music is available at the O’Connor Music Studio if you want to borrow it or download it here about 1/3 of the way down the page under “Scores”.

I always enjoy these graphical scores.  Watch the colors as the melody gets more and more complex:

Who knew?  There’s an accordion version.

Have a great day!

Daily Listening Assignments

 

This summer, I’ve decided to add a new feature to piano lessons.  I know that many families travel during the summer months and it’s sometimes difficult to practice.

These daily assignments, June through August will help you and your students learn a bit more about the pieces they’re learning during the year – or maybe give ideas for something that they’d like to learn.

Each piece has a bit of composer info and several different interpretations, some of which are very humorous.  Some of the assignments appear in Piano Maestro so be sure to have that handy, if your student uses that.

Some days give hints that the assignment of the day may be played (or reviewed) at the next lesson so please be sure that your student takes note of that (no pun intended!)

Find them here, under Daily Listening Assignment starting June 1 at 9:00 am.

Have a safe and musical summer!

Today is National Buy a Musical Instrument Day

Piano 8

 

 

Each year on May 22 we observe National Buy a Musical Instrument Day.  The day is all about playing music.  If you are a musician, it might be time for a new instrument.  Maybe you can learn to play a second or third one.  If you have never played an instrument before, National Buy A Musical Instrument Day might be the motivation you need to start.

Naturally, here at the O’Connor Music Studio, a piano, keyboard with weighted keys (and 88 of them!) or organ is recommended but this day is for all types of instruments and is for people of all ages.  Grandpa can play his ukulele while the grandkids play the drums, trombone, and flute. Together they can all make terrific music!

Adapted from http://www.nationaldaycalendar.com/national-buy-a-musical-instrument-day-may-22/