[NOTE: If you are just joining us for the first time, you can find my previous Sixty and Me Free Piano Lessons on my Author page. You can join our lessons any time!]
Hi friends and welcome back to your bi-weekly piano lessons for beginners on Sixty and Me! I hope you are managing to stay cool if you are living in searing heat right now. All year round, and especially in the summer, it is extremely important to stay hydrated.
I had a dear student fall backwards off the bench at our piano lesson, and it was terrifying for both of us. I was afraid that he was having a stroke, but it turned out that he was simply dehydrated. He had to be hospitalized for a couple days until he stabilized.
Several of my students have had to be hospitalized for dehydration; it’s a very common but serious health problem that is easy to prevent. You should be drinking liquids throughout the day, every day, every season.
The time you spend playing the piano is a great time to take sips of water or other drinks. I always keep a flask of water, herb tea or almond milk by my piano (never a glass ON my piano!), and I drink in between my songs, pieces and exercises.
Staying well-hydrated helps the brain to process information, and I find that it refreshes and revitalizes me when I drink during practice sessions (sorry, alcoholic drinks don’t count, as they are usually dehydrating!)
These two weeks we are finishing the last three lines of the Bass Note Reading Drill on p. 49, playing Aiken Drum (version 2) with two hands on p. 52, and we are starting the Rhythm Review on p. 53 along with some exercises and review. Please watch my Hello and Hydrate video:
Last lesson we played the first three lines of the Bass Note Reading Drill on p. 49 forwards and backwards. Playing music backwards gives a great brain boost, and also helps you to focus on the notes.
Here I demonstrate lines 4-6 forwards. I count 4 beats before each line so that you can play with me. After playing along with me, play these lines backwards on your own:
You have already played the Aiken Drum melody with your left hand on p.44. On p.52 you will be playing it again, this time adding a right hand accompaniment. Be sure to count the first few times you play Aiken Drum, remembering to keep that steady 1-2-3 beat. The song starts with a pick-up on beat 3:
Rhythm is one of the most difficult things to learn on any instrument at any age. But it’s the rhythm that makes the melody come alive! So we work on it a lot. The Rhythm Review on p. 53 will help to deepen your understanding of complicated rhythms. It’s important to practice counting rhythms, and it’s also helpful to come up with lyrics to fit the beats.
For example, I say, “Choc-‘late chip, choc-‘late chip; pea-nut but-ter choc-‘late chip” for line 1. For line 2, I might say, “Pump-kin pie, and, ap-ple pie; boy-sen-ber-ry is the best!” For line 3, I might say “Red, wa-ter-mel-on; straw-ber-ry short-cake.” (I like to sing about food!)
See if you can make up your own phrases to go with the beats in lines 2 and 3 after you practice counting and playing the rhythms. If you feel like it, send us your lyrics (silly or serious) in the comments section below!
Sometimes we have every intention of practicing our piano/keyboard, but there are so many distractions along the way that we find ourselves at the end of our day without having gotten to the bench. Are distractions luring you away from your practice? What do you do to stay focused on accomplishing the things you want to get to every day? At the end of this week, leave a comment if you played piano for at least 5 minutes per day, and let us support your success!
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