It’s the last week of the semester! The downtown holiday program has been performed! Wonderful Christmas music has been shared in group lessons! The last recordings for each student’s Christmas CD have been made, colorful covers added, and CDs placed under the Christmas tree ready for pick-up! We have just one lesson left before a two-week break, just enough time to accomplish….. hmmm, what are we really going to accomplish this week?!?!?
This week seemed to call for something a little different during private lessons. With the exception of a few kids with January performances scheduled, we didn’t have an overwhelming need to work on repertoire. So, I came up with a couple of harmonization projects:
For students working on 5-finger patterns with a basic understanding of tonic and dominant functions, the “O Christmas Tree” worksheet calls for a simple tonic-dominant accompaniment using one left-hand note a measure in the key of G Major.
“Silent Night” is written out lead-sheet style and requires students to write in I, IV and V7 chord symbols for each measure in the key of D Major.
These turned out to be a wonderful way to wrap up a number of concepts at the end of this semester. To complete this we had to review some technique patterns, then analyze the melody and apply theory knowledge. Once students had filled out the worksheets, I let them use their “answers” to program an accompaniment on my Clavinova, then sight-read the melody and play along using instrument setting of their choice. Presto! A fully-orchestrated Christmas carol in 30 minutes or less (and a chance to play with the “cool” buttons on the Clavinova).