Explains and illustrates the terms and signs used in the pieces.
This section provides suggestions for teaching each of the lessons.
Students are always interested in how the piano works. This lesson discusses and illustrates the piano mechanism – hammers, dampers and strings. The mechanisms of the three pedals are also explained.
In this lesson, the student is taught to sit properly and how the foot works with the damper pedal. An important component of this unit is discovering how the piano works like an echo chamber when the dampers are raised so one hears the sympathetic vibrations. The student is encouraged to improvise making various sounds with the pedal depressed. Various notations of pedaling are shown, including the unique graphic notation used throughout this book.
This begins with three Pedal Studies, which allow the student to become comfortable with the technique of long pedals. Equally important is getting the student to learn to listen intently to the sound as it decays. The blending of sounds in this technique is an important introduction to Impressionistic sonorities. While the pieces don’t look particularly unusual on the page, with the use of long pedals they create magical sounds.
This lesson introduces the Direct, or Simultaneous pedal. Next to long pedals, this is the easiest technique, because the hands and foot always work together in the same up and down directions. The Pedal Studies deal with the coordination of hands and feet away from the keyboard, which the student must master before incorporating the pedal in the pieces that follow. A couple of fun new compositional and performance techniques are included in the pieces, namely modular structure and playing with the whole forearm. Also a lovely duet allows the student to concentrate on a simple rhythmic accompaniment and pedal, while the teacher provides the melody.
The syncopated pedal technique introduced in this lesson is the most complicated coordination of all, especially for beginners. Unfortunately, this is the pedaling that is often the first type introduced in teaching materials. The Pedal Studies that introduce this lesson are very important for the student to master before going on to the pieces., as rhythmic control is paramount to clean pedal changes.
Many pieces in the piano repertoire have soft endings with the sound gradually dying away. This is most effectively accomplished by using a slow pedal release. This lesson will teach the students to end such pieces in a most artistic way! (As in all of the pedal techniques included in this book, students are encouraged to add pedal where appropriate in their other repertoire. It must be kept in mind that most composers do not indicate pedal, but assume it will be added. Pedalings added by an editor are only suggestions.) Included in this lesson is a piece using sympathetic vibrations – fun!
This last lesson introduces the use of the soft pedal in combination with long damper pedals. The student will learn to listen carefully to the difference in sound when the soft pedal is applied, and when it is released. By this time, the student will be playing with confidence and artistry if they have mastered each of the lessons.