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A1. Lesson 3

Actualizado: 9 ago 2023

Welcome to the third practical lesson of the online piano and music theory course.

We will continue here what we worked on in lessons 1 and 2.

We will start this lesson with a piece to play on the piano. To do this, I suggest you watch the video below, with which you can learn to execute the work proposed by imitation.

Exercise 1: Playing

You can watch the video as many times as you need until you learn the piece. Pay attention to the keys that are played, the fingering, the rhythm, and the dynamics as shown in the video. Perform the work with right and left hands separately as many times as necessary until you achieve a correct execution, paying attention to the corresponding notes, fingering, and rhythm together with the video. Subsequently, make video recordings of your performance with separate hands. If you find an error in the recording, repeat the exercise until you reach the proposed goal.


Exercise 2: Playing and Singing or Counting

Next, I propose you execute the work with separate hands, simultaneously singing the melody with the name of the notes. This exercise will allow you to fix in memory the location of the notes on the keyboard and on the staff, as well as their relative pitch. If necessary, you can separately address the enunciation and intonation of the notes before integrating the execution. You can do this exercise first without rhythm, adjusting the intonation to the height of the played note, and then on the video. Finally, make an audio recording to evaluate the achievement of the proposed goal.

I also suggest you perform the work and count the times of the measure out loud. This exercise will allow you to exercise rhythm. The objective of this exercise is to obtain a correct instrumental execution, with rhythmic precision and enunciation of the beats of the bar. Make an audio recording to assess the achievement of the proposed objective.


Exercise 3: Articulation

Articulation in music relates to the onset and cessation of sounds and their connection. In this opportunity, we will work with legato and non legato.

When only the written notes are found in the score, we execute non legato. This articulation corresponds to regular piano playing, where each note of the melody has its onset. For this reason, there is a small separation between the sounds, which we call a caesura. This separation occurs in the form of a silence between the notes, which can reach a quarter of the value of the sounds.

When in the score, the notes are joined by a curved line, we execute legato. In this articulation, the sounds are linked together, avoiding any sensation of onset. With this articulation, we try to produce the sensation that the melody consists of a single sound that changes its pitch. Between them, there is no separation (or caesura). Therefore, their values are maintained. In other words, one sound is turned off the instant the next one is produced.

The following graph shows the writing of these articulations and their effect on the duration of sounds.

Next, I propose you execute the proposed work with the following articulations: non legato, legato, and the articulations that are written (combination of legato and non legato). The objective is to obtain a precise and perceptible articulation with these indications in the execution. Make three audio recordings following these guidelines to assess the achievement of the proposed objective.


Exercise 4: Memory execution

Perform the pieces worked on in lessons 1 and 2 without the help of the score. If you don't remember everything, put the sheet music back on the music stand and play it again. Repeat this exercise until you have memorized the entire work. Then make an audio recording and compare it with the sheet music.


Exercise 5: Order of the notes

Next, I propose you name the notes in scales by ascending and descending thirds starting at each one of them until reaching the initial note. This will make it easier for you to read music and improve your performance on the instrument. To begin with, I suggest you write down these scales and then continue practicing them mentally until you become fluent.


Exercise 6: Location of notes

In the previous lessons, we learned and practiced the location of the notes on the keyboard and in the treble clef with their respective acoustic index. On this occasion, I propose to continue exercising in it. This will help you smooth out difficulties in music reading and instrumental playing. To do this, I suggest you use the cards from exercise 7 of lesson A1.2. For this exercise, we will take a maximum of 5 new notes to exercise. That is why I propose you select the cards of the notes C4, D4, E4, F4 and G4. Shuffle the cards and present them in random order. Say the note and play it on the piano in its corresponding octave. Repeat the exercise until you become fluent in identifying these notes and their location on the keyboard.


Exercise 7: Intervals

An interval is the relationship between the pitch of two sounds. We can measure this relationship qualitatively or quantitatively. Today we will focus on the first. We refer to the quantitative aspect when we indicate the number of notes between two sounds. Thus, the intervals are:

We call the intervals from the octave onwards compound, since the notes of the simple intervals are repeated in them.

The musical elements related to the pitch of sounds, that is, melody and harmony, are made up of intervals. To analyze these elements, we use intervals. Therefore, it is necessary to acquire fluency in the identification and construction of intervals. For this, I propose you write these intervals up to the octave in an ascending and descending direction, starting from the seven notes.


Exercise 8: Instrumental technique

A correct instrumental technique allows us to optimize the execution and interpretation, make the resolution of difficulties more efficient and avoid injuries or other problems. For this reason, it is important to observe and correct the way in which we execute the instrument to make it more appropriate and efficient. Today we will focus on the position of the body. When sitting in front of the piano, we must pay attention to the height at which the keyboard is located and the height and distance at which we place our seat. An adequate height is one that allows us to comfortably support the soles of the feet on the ground, while the forearms are placed horizontally with the elbows at the height of the white keys. An adequate distance is one in which our elbows are slightly advanced with respect to the torso. If the arms are fully upright, we are too close to the keyboard, while if they start to extend, we are too far away. In the case of small children who do not reach the ground, it is necessary to use a support for the feet and allow a correct position. The second important point of support is that of the sitting bones against the seat. When corroborating this pressure, the spine is naturally upright. On these two points of support, it is possible to relax the legs, which in this way open slightly, and drop the arms, which hang from the shoulders, and find the fingers on the keyboard as a point of support.

To observe and correct the position of the body, I suggest that you record a profile video performing one of the works in the repertoire and analyze the recording based on these technical guidelines.


Exercise 9: Rhythmic reading

I propose you read the following rhythmic exercise with the metronome. You can beat the rhythm, sing it or play it on the piano on the same note (for instance C4) with the metronome or the video.


Repeat the exercise until you get a correct rhythm performance, adjusted to the metronome. Then make an audio recording using the metronome and listen to it to self-correct. If you find an error, repeat the exercise until you get a correct recording.


Exercise 10: Rhythmic sight-reading

After reaching the goal proposed in the previous exercise, I suggest you read the following rhythm at first sight.

The purpose of sight-reading exercises is to achieve fluency in resolving rhythmic, melodic, or piano-playing difficulties. Aiming at this, I propose as the goal of these exercises to achieve a correct and adjusted performance from the first reading. To do this, I recommend starting with the analysis of the elements that each exercise contains. This exercise consists of eight measures in 4/4 using quarter, half, dotted half, and whole notes. To start reading, I suggest you mark the pulse and perform the exercise mentally until you can do it correctly. Once this mental reading has been achieved, I suggest you make an audio recording with your first reading of this exercise, whether it be drumming, singing, or playing on the piano with the help of the metronome. Finally, listen to the recording to self-correct yourself. If you find an error, repeat the exercise until you get a correct recording.


Exercise 11: Rhythmic Composition

Next, I propose you compose a rhythmic exercise of eight bars in 4/4 using quarter notes, half, dotted half, and whole notes, taking the previous rhythmic exercises as a model. The rhythmic composition exercises will allow you to consolidate the musical elements worked on, they will provide you with additional material to train rhythmic reading at first sight, and they will prepare you to work on musical composition. After writing the exercise, record a rhythmic sight-reading of your composition and listen to it. If necessary, repeat the exercise until you obtain a correct recording.


Exercise 12: Rhythmic dictation

Next, I propose you write the rhythm in the following video from listening:

Listen to the exercise as many times as you want. If you need to, you can pause it, rewind it, or fast-forward it. To facilitate the recognition of the beat and the note values, the marking of the beat and the accents of the measure are included. In the beginning, a complete measure is heard with this marking. Write the time signature and the corresponding note values until you complete the exercise. Don't forget to include the bar lines and the end bar line. Once written, listen to the audio again to check. Then do a sight-reading of the exercise.


Exercise 13: Rhythmic-melodic reading

I propose you read the notes and sing the melody of this exercise with its rhythm using the metronome or the video.


To address this topic, you can train four abilities separately: a) spoken notes without rhythm, b) spoken notes with rhythm, c) intoned notes without rhythm, and d) intoned notes with rhythm. Then repeat the exercise without instrumental accompaniment, paying attention to the correct enunciation and intonation of the notes as well as the execution of the rhythm. Finally, record audio using the metronome and listen to it to correct yourself. If you find an error, repeat the exercise until you get a correct recording.


Exercise 14: Rhythmic-melodic sight-reading

After reaching the goal proposed in the previous exercise, I suggest you read the following melody at first sight.

In order to achieve an execution without errors and adjusted from the first reading, I suggest starting with an analysis of its elements. Regarding its rhythmic aspect, this exercise consists of eight bars in 3/4 using quarter, half, and dotted half notes. Regarding its melodic aspect, it contains three notes (C, D, and E) approached by ascending or descending conjunct motion, repetition, and ascending thirds. To start reading, I suggest you read the notes mentally first without rhythm and then with a regular pulse to smooth out possible difficulties in these aspects. Then I propose you carry out a preparatory exercise of random intonation with these notes, corroborating with the help of the piano if necessary.

Finally, make an audio recording with your first reading of this exercise. If you find an error, repeat the exercise until you get a correct recording.


Exercise 15: Rhythmic-melodic Composition

Next, I propose you compose a rhythmic-melodic exercise of eight bars in 4/4 using quarter, half, dotted half, and whole notes, and the notes C, D, and E, with repeated notes, conjunct motion, and ascending thirds, taking the previous rhythmic-melodic exercises as a model. The rhythmic-melodic composition exercises will allow you to consolidate the musical elements worked on, they will provide you with additional material to train rhythmic-melodic reading at first sight, and they will prepare you to work on musical composition. After writing the exercise, record a rhythmic-melodic sight-reading of your composition and listen to it. If necessary, repeat the exercise until you obtain a correct recording.


Exercise 16: Rhythmic-melodic Dictation

Next, I propose you write the rhythm and melody in the following video from listening:

Listen to the exercise as many times as you want. If you need to, you can pause it, rewind it, or fast-forward it. To facilitate the recognition of rhythmic elements, the marking of the beat and the accents of the measure are included. In the beginning, a complete measure is heard with this marking. Regarding the melodic aspect, this exercise has two notes (C, D, and E), which you can identify by their relative pitch. Write the time signature, notes, values, bar lines, and the end bar line. Once written, perform a first-sight reading to corroborate. Finally, sing on the audio.


Exercise 17: Musical analysis

Next, I propose you carry out a morphological analysis of the following melody, pointing out the parts (antecedent and consequent), the endings (suspensive or conclusive), and the motifs (a, b...), and the form (sentence, parallel period or contrasting period). You can correct your analysis by going to the guide for solving the exercises at the end of this post.

Exercise 18: Musical composition

Next, I invite you to compose a contrasting period of 8 bars. To do this, I recommend using the rhythmic and melodic elements exercised: that is 4/4 using quarter, half, dotted half, and whole notes, and the notes C, D, E, and F. You can do it on paper or in music writing software. On a blank staff, write the treble clef and time signature. Then compose a two-bar motif choosing the notes and values you want. Then, to finish the antecedent, write a suspensive ending. To do this, write a note other than C at the end (ie D or E). Then write another two-bar motif. Finally, to close the consequent, write a conclusive ending on the tonic (C). It is also advisable that you make stops in measures 4 and 8.

Finally, play the composed work, make an audio recording, and self-correct your play.


Exercise 19: Improvisation

To train the elements worked on in this lesson in improvisation, I propose you improvise a contrasting period of 8 bars. To facilitate this task, I provide an 8-bar exercise, in 2/4, where bars 1, 2, 5, and 6 (which correspond to the motifs of the antecedent and consequent respectively) are empty, and bars 3, 4, 7, and 8 contain a proposed suspensive and concluding ending.

I propose to mentally compose two motifs of 2 bars. State the notes and figures of each motif but do not write them down. The exercise consists of recording the improvisation of the parallel period with the help of the metronome, building the beginnings of the missing antecedent and consequent from the predefined motifs, and executing the suspensive and conclusive endings as they are written. Then listen to the recording to self-correct and, if necessary, repeat the exercise with the same motifs until you get a correct execution. I also invite you to continue improvising contrasting periodes using new motifs with the proposed endings.


Exercise 20: Execution at first sight

Finally, I suggest you play the following work at first sight on the piano.

To do it, I recommend starting with a musical analysis, indicating the rhythmic, melodic, and morphological elements it exhibits. Then I propose to perform a mental execution with the help of the metronome. If you consider it necessary, you can address the rhythmic, melodic, and fingering elements separately in this mental preparation. Once prepared, I recommend making two video recordings of this exercise (one with the right hand and one with the left hand). The goal is to perform a correct and accurate execution from the first reading. If necessary, repeat the exercise. Finally, I invite you to compose and play new sight reading exercises using the elements worked on in this lesson.


Guidelines for self-correction:

Exercise 1

Analyze the recordings taking into account the following guidelines:

  1. Correct execution of the notes.

  2. Rhythmic precision.

  3. Proper use of fingering.

  4. Correct dynamics.

Exercise 2

Analyze the recording taking into account the following guidelines:

  1. Correct execution of notes and rhythmic adjustment.

  2. Proper enunciation of the notes.

  3. Accuracy in intonation.

In the execution with the count of the beats of the bar, keep in mind:

  1. The correct execution of the notes.

  2. The proper enunciation of the beats of the measure.

  3. Rhythmic precision.

Exercise 3

Analyze the recordings taking into account the following guidelines:

  • Correct execution and rhythmic adjustment.

  • Correct articulation in its 3 forms (non legato, legato, written articulations).

Exercise 4

Analyze the recording taking into account the following guidelines

  • Memory execution.

  • Correction in the indications of the score.

  • Rhythmic precision.

Exercise 5

Compare the written scales with the following resolution of the exercise:

  • C-E-G-B-D-F-A-C

  • C-A-F-D-B-G-E-C

  • D-B-G-E-C-A-F-D

  • D-C-B-A-G-F-E-D

  • E-C-A-F-D-B-G-E

  • E-D-C-B-A-G-F-E

  • F-A-C-E-G-B-D-F

  • F-D-B-G-E-C-A-F

  • G-B-D-F-A-C-E-G

  • G-E-C-A-F-D-B-G

  • A-C-E-G-B-D-F-A

  • A-F-D-B-G-E-C-A

  • B-G-E-C-A-F-D-B

  • B-A-G-F-E-D-C-B

Exercise 6

Verify the correct recognition, enunciation, and execution of notes and octaves.


Exercise 7

Compare the list of intervals written with the graph below.

Exercise 8

Analyze the recording taking into account the following guidelines:

  1. The soles of the feet are resting on the ground.

  2. The legs look relaxed.

  3. The sit bones are correctly supported, observing the erect spine.

  4. The height of the seat and the distance from the keyboard is optimal, as can be seen from the position of the elbow, at the height of the white keys and slightly in front of the torso, and from the forearms in a horizontal position.

  5. The arms hang relaxed from the shoulders and rest on the fingers on the keyboard.

Exercise 9

Analyze the recording of the rhythmic reading taking into account the following guidelines:


  1. Correct execution of the rhythm (whether drumming, singing, or on the piano).

  2. Precision in synchronous adjustment with the metronome.

Exercise 10

Analyze the recording of the rhythmic sight-reading taking into account the following guidelines:

  1. Correct execution of the rhythm (whether drumming, singing, or on the piano).

  2. Precision in synchronous adjustment with the metronome.

  3. Correct execution from the first attempt.

In case of not achieving the proposed goal in the first reading, compose new exercises to train the rhythmic reading at first sight until reaching it.


Exercise 11

Check in the exercise you composed:

  1. The correct writing of the key, the time signature, the values, and the bar lines.

  2. Following the guides: eight bars in 4/4 using quarter, half, dotted half, and whole notes.

Analyze the sight-reading recording of your rhythmic composition, following the guidelines proposed in exercise 10.


Exercise 12

Compare the rhythm written to dictation with the following graph

In case you find an error, you can continue exercising rhythmic dictation with the elements worked on in this lesson using the audios of your readings, your sight readings, and your own compositions.


Exercise 13

Analyze the recording of the rhythmic-melodic reading taking into account the following guidelines:

  1. Correct execution of the rhythm and precision in the synchronous adjustment with the metronome.

  2. Correct enunciation of the notes.

  3. Correct intonation of notes. To do this, listen to the recording playing simultaneously on the piano to self-correct yourself.

Exercise 14

Analyze the recording of the rhythmic-melodic reading at first sight taking into account the following guidelines:

  1. Correct execution of the rhythm and precision in the synchronous adjustment with the metronome.

  2. Correct enunciation of the notes.

  3. Correct intonation of notes. To do this, listen to the recording playing simultaneously on the piano to self-correct yourself.

  4. Correct execution from the first attempt.

In case of not achieving the proposed goal, compose new exercises to train rhythmic-melodic reading at first sight until reaching it.


Exercise 15

Check in the exercise you composed:

  1. The correct writing of the key, the time signature, the values, and the bar lines.

  2. Following the guides: eight bars in 4/4 time using quarter, half, dotted half, and whole notes and the notes C, D, and E, with repeated notes, conjunct motion, and ascending thirds.

Analyze the recording of the reading at first sight of your rhythmic-melodic composition, following the guidelines proposed in exercise 14.


Exercise 16

Compare the melody written to dictation with the following graph

In case you find an error, you can continue exercising rhythmic-melodic dictation with the elements worked on in this lesson using the audios of your readings, your sight readings, and your own compositions.


Exercise 17

Compare your analysis with the following graph and explanation

The work is in C Major and consists of a contrasting period. It has two parts of four bars. The first part (antecedent) consists of a two-bar motif that is followed by a suspension ending. The second part (consequent) is made up of a new two-bar motive, followed by a conclusive ending, produced by the resolution and stop in the tonic.

Exercise 18 Analyze the composition taking into account the following guidelines:

  1. The work has eight bars.

  2. Its antecedent is composed of a two-bar motif followed by a suspensive ending (on a note other than C).

  3. Its consequent is made up of a new motif followed by a conclusive ending (in the tonic, C).

Then analyze the audio of the execution of your composition following the self-correction guides of exercise 1 Exercise 19 Analyze the recording of the improvisation taking into account the following guidelines:

  1. The motifs executed correspond to the stated rhythmic-melodic patterns.

  2. The consequent corresponds to the proposed model

  3. The overall execution is rhythmically and melodically accurate.

Exercise 20 Analyze recordings of sight-reading to self-correct. To do this, keep in mind:

  1. Correct execution of the notes.

  2. Precision and rhythmic adjustment with the metronome.

  3. Proper use of fingers

  4. Correct execution from the first attempt.

In case of not achieving the proposed goal, compose new exercises to train the execution at first sight until reaching it.


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