Saturday, November 13, 2010

iNversions ala tomato

All the students are working on inversions this month. Even the youngest of the studio are practicing "tipping chords over". Older students do the circle of 5ths, we are also learning minors, dominant and diminished 7ths, solid and broken. It's a good time to do this before we learn Christmas carols by ear and need the chords.

I explained that to make an inversion is like doing a cartwheel. As you tip over, your hands touch the ground. But you stay you, and a chord, as we tip it over, stays the same notes too. So a chord with the notes C-E-G tips over to be an E-G-C, and a G-C-E, but it is still a C Major chord. My blocks invention is also very helpful spelling chords and manipulating the notes. you can watch the inversion happen, while tangibly touching the wooden blocks.

Last week we had a few students still wanted to change C-E-G, to E-G-B (!) as they tipped it over, so I ran upstairs and got my ketchup bottle. "As I tip my ketchup over to pour it out," I demonstrated, "it does not become mustard. It is still ketchup, even on its side." The notes are the same, and the chord is the same, no matter what note is on the left or the right.

One clever fellow reminded me that his ketchup bottle stands on its head; it's already upside down, so he doesn't need to learn inversions, he'll just always buy the ketchup with the cap at the bottom. At the local grocery store, they still sell both styles of bottles, pictured here, cap at the top, and cap on the bottom.

I said I was going to come to his house and tip his ketchup over in the refrigerator.
You are a product of the 70s if you know why I chose this song.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


My student last night sat the metronome in the corner of the room, in the "time-out corner. It was not using its indoor voice!"
She even faced it to the wall.
She was having a hard time keeping a pulse; it was bound to happen.
Not many have ever told me, "oh boy, I love playing with the metronome."
Actually, I'm still waiting for the first student to tell me that.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Minor scales were so October

Hey-I forgot to tell you all about the warm ups my studio did in October! We spent the month learning about those spooky harmonic minors. The younger ones learned the major then the minor and how to lower the 3 and the 6. The older you got, the more octaves and complex we went.
We learned a lot, explored some new keys, and played around with that harmonic note, writing a few scary licks and songs around it.

I have been using more YouTube videos for both great and awful performances. After I sent a student home to watch his current Scarlatti piece and tell me what he thought, (, he sent me this reply.

"I see your vid, and raise you one"

This video was interesting to me, a little long,(jump to 3 minutes in if you want to hear her play), but students could gain some motivation from this. She plays her scales in 10th, an octave plus a third apart. They sound better that way, don't they? My student laughed about her "slower" tempo. I also need to add that chromatic scale to my list of student technical abilities. What do you think? Should I send this to all my studio in January?

November here is all about inversions, more on this soon. I also decided to participate in NaNoWriMo, so posts may be sporadic for awhile this month. Not like they haven't been already.

Who's been to Visit?