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Actualizado: 24 abr

Iván Rolón

The piano and musical theory course is methodologically ordered according to the criteria that I detail below, through which the recommendations for the level of the works are prepared, their approach, the objectives of each stage, and the contents they include.

This course is divided into three levels, each of which contains four successive stages:

  • Basic (A1, A2, A3, and A4): intended for those who want to start studying piano or who have experience, but need to consolidate the basic concepts.

  • Intermediate (B1, B2, B3, and B4): intended for students who have developed autonomy in learning simple works and need accompaniment to solve medium-difficulty works.

  • Advanced (C1, C2, C3, and C4): intended for students who want to start or are undergoing professional musical training, for example, at the university, and need accompaniment in this process or wish to complement their training

The recommendation of the difficulty of the works for each level is based on the progressive and cumulative ordering of the contents arranged for each stage and the skills to be developed from them. Its approach is based on activities aimed at the progressive development of the proposed knowledge and skills, with the purpose of promoting conditions of enjoyment and dedication to tasks. Some of the most relevant activities related to the development of knowledge and skills ordered from the perspective of an initial approach include:

  • Instrumental exploration: intended to generate an experimental approach to musical elements.

  • Active listening: intended for the exercise of concentration, the identification of relevant elements, the musical development, and the first approach to the repertoire.

  • Marking the pulse: from listening, aimed at the development of the sense of the pulse, its identification, and rhythmic precision.

  • Singing: aimed at coordinating rhythmic skills, tuning, and articulation of the text.

  • Execution by imitation: from observation and intuitive recognition.

  • Recognition of musical elements: starting from the musical skills developed towards the identification of its components and notation.

  • Rhythmic reading: aimed at developing the ability to translate rhythmic writing into its execution.

  • Note reading: aimed at achieving fluency in melodic reading.

  • Rhythm and note reading: combining rhythmic and melodic reading skills.

  • Location of the notes on the keyboard: connecting them with its writing through specific exercises.

  • Fingering: through exercises designed to combine written and finger numeration with the note on the score and its location on the keyboard.

  • Execution from the score: combining the rhythmic, melodic, and technical skills developed.

  • Application of study techniques: in order to learn efficiently and with enjoyment.

  • Exercise of technical and expressive guidelines: destined to progressively optimize musical execution and interpretation.

  • Melody Reading of the works from the repertoire: with the purpose of developing the melodic hearing aspect and finding the musical meaning of the executed phrases.

  • Composition of rhythmic exercises: in order to understand rhythmic structures, create additional exercise material and prepare for musical composition.

  • Rhythmic Sight-Reading: To gain reading fluency and prepare for sight-reading.

  • Rhythmic dictation: intended to acquire the ability to write rhythms from listening.

  • Composing Melodic Exercises: To get started writing melodies, create additional exercise material, and prepare for musical composition.

  • Rhythm and note Sight-Reading: To gain fluency in music reading and prepare for sight-reading.

  • Musical analysis: identifying the musical elements in the works performed under the guidance of the teacher.

  • Performance at first sight: melodies for one and two voices after their analysis and rhythmic and melodic exercise.

  • Melody Sight-Reading: in order to correctly sing the notes from reading and prepare to write melodies to dictation.

  • Melodic dictation: to develop the ability to imitate and write melodies from listening.

  • Composition: for the development of creativity from the creation of own works.

  • Improvisation: in creative development from spontaneous execution.

The structure of levels responds, thus, to a growing and cumulative difficulty of the contents, but they can be worked from different skills that respond to a progressive order of theoretical and technical mastery. For this reason, in comprehensive training, after the progress made through basic skills, it is necessary to return to the contents of the previous levels to work on higher skills, given that it is necessary a development in the skills to play a musical work, write it down to dictation, or compose similar works, starting from the teacher's guide towards a gradual increase in autonomy. That is why the level of development expected for each of the levels, addressed for the first time, does not require a theoretical mastery of the elements or independence in the analysis or technical resolution, but its practical application through the repertoire and activities proposed together to the teacher. The development of higher skills will be reserved for a later approach, in successive stages. In this way, the contents presented serve as a guide for the recommendation of the difficulty of the repertoire, as well as for a subsequent study focused on analysis and composition.

The objectives and contents of each of the levels are the following:

Basic level objectives

Upon completion of the basic level, students will be prepared to:

  • Perform short, simple piano works from sheet music with technical and expressive proficiency, including efficient and healthy posture and hand position, rhythmic and melodic precision, proper use of fingering and pedals, and careful reading of articulation, dynamics, accentuation, and agogics.

  • Learn with autonomy, short and simple piano pieces, applying appropriate study techniques and strategies.

  • Read rhythms, and execute and sing accurately written melodies.

  • Analyze the rhythmic, melodic, harmonic, and morphological elements of the works of the proposed repertoire with the help of the teacher.

  • Compose short and simple works for piano with the help of the teacher.

  • Improvise melodies, accompaniments, and small pieces from given formulas.

  • Identify by hearing basic rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic elements and write simple melodies from listening.

Contents of level A1

Rhythmic aspect

  • Pulse regularity.

  • Note values and rests in whole pulses (quarter note, half note, dotted half note, and whole note).

  • Ties.

  • Time signatures of 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4.

  • Anacrusic, thetic and headless beginnings.

  • Affirmative and suspensive endings

  • Syncopation

  • Rhythms for one and two voices.

Melodic aspect

  • Conventional notation system.

  • Notes in treble clef and bass clef, with up to two additional lines.

  • Melodies in fifth range.

  • Melodies for one and two voices.

Instrumental technique

  • Execution in fixed, closed position, one voice (in one hand) and two voices (in two hands).

  • Parallel octaves, thirds, and sixths between both hands in a fixed position.

  • Dominant and tonic pedal and fundamentals.

  • Chords with two sounds and triads of tonic and dominant with position change in the left hand.

  • Fixed accompaniment forms: arpeggios, waltz, barcarolle, ronda, Alberti bass.

  • Counterpoint melodies in a fixed position.

Expression technique

  • Articulations: non legato, legato, staccato.

  • Dynamics: mezzoforte, forte, mezzo piano and piano.

  • Agogics: moderato tempo, moderately fast and moderately slow.

Harmonic aspect

  • Intervals (quantitative aspect)

  • Inversion of intervals (quantitative aspect). Simple and compound intervals.

  • Types of melodic and harmonic movement.

  • Key of C major. Scale degrees.

  • Chords: tonic triad, dominant triad, and dominant seventh.

  • Triad and seventh chords: root position and inversions.

Musical forms

  • Phrase.

  • Parallel, contrasting, and double period.

  • Binary form.

  • Treatment of the text.

Contents of level A2

Rhythmic aspect

  • Review of rhythmic contents studied in A1.

  • Note values and rests in whole pulses and its division (eighth note, dotted quarter note, eighth note triplet).

  • Time signatures of 6/8, 9/8, and 12/8.

Melodic aspect

  • Review of melodic contents studied in A1.

  • Tone and semitone (diatonic and chromatic).

  • Accidentals: sharp and flat.

  • Key signature.

  • Enharmonic Equivalents.

  • Melodies in octave range.

Instrumental technique

  • Review of the contents of the instrumental technique studied in A1.

  • Fixed, closed, and open positions.

  • Change of position: opening, closing, thumb tack, move.

  • Scales by opposite and direct movement, one-octave extension.

Expression technique

  • Review of expressive contents studied in A1.

  • Articulations: staccattissimo.

  • Dynamics: hairpins.

  • Agogics: fermata.

  • Accentuation: accents (>).

  • Character: dolce.

Harmonic aspect

  • Review of harmonic contents studied in A1.

  • Intervals: minor, major, perfect, tritone. Inversions.

  • Minor and major chord (structure, construction, and identification).

  • Natural major and minor scale.

  • Keys: A minor, G Major, E minor, D minor, and F Major.

  • Tonic, dominant, and subdominant.

Musical forms

  • Review of musical forms studied in A1.

  • Theme with variations.

Contents of level A3

rhythmic aspect

  • Review of rhythmic contents studied in A1 and A2.

  • Note values and rests in whole pulses, division, and subdivision (sixteenth note, dotted eighth note. Binary and ternary rhythmic cells).

Melodic aspect

  • Review of the melodic contents studied in A1 and A2.

  • Accidentals: natural note. Precautionary accidentals.

  • Modulation in the repertoire.

  • Melodies in a range higher than the octave.

Instrumental technique

  • Review of the contents of instrumental technique studied in A1 and A2.

  • Scales by direct and opposite movement, two octaves long.

  • Parallel sixths and thirds in the same hand.

  • Two voices in the same hand in oblique movement (one in a pedal note).

  • Hands crossed.

  • Textures: monophony, homophony, heterophony, and polyphony.