Case Study Portfolio – Isabel (Part 4)

Lesson 11-15 (January-February)

General aims:

  • basic knowledge on the composers, the era and style of the pieces

  • role, precision and fluency of the left and syncopated pedal

  • emphasizing top or bottom notes of the chord and making soundless change of a finger on one of the notes in the chord

  • ability to lead two voices in one hand

  • precision of the articulation (legato and staccato)

  • sensitivity to color and dynamics

  • Ab and Db major scales (listening to the quality of the sound, working on an equal sound of both hands, the efficiency of the left hand and practicing using different types of articulation, dynamics and rhythm)

Pieces:

  • Chopin ‘Wiosna’

  • analyzing a harmonic structure of the accompaniment in the left hand

  • precision in leading two voices in the left hand

  • leading the melody with emphasizing the first beat of the bar

  • introducing the left pedal (indicating its role in differentiating the dynamics and timbre)

  • introducing the syncopated pedal and using it with precision and fluently while playing hands separately

  • Wesley ‘Vivace’

  • clarity of the grace notes (ensuring that they’re not played with an accent, they’re played before the beat and they serve as a decoration of the main note)

  • differentiating the articulation in the left hand (legato) with the articulation in the right hand (legato slur and staccato)

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Problems faced:

Pedal

We had two approaches to start using the right pedal. I played the first phrase of the piece a few times showing Isabel the differences in sound depending on when I changed the pedal. We decided together when it’s necessary to change the pedal in ‘Wiosna’ based on the changes in harmony. Isabel tried to play the left hand together with the pedal but right away she stopped holding the bass notes in the left hand thinking that using the pedal will make up for it. We decided to come back to using the pedal the next lesson.

So far Isabel has been only using the right pedal on the beat. I thought that it was the correct time to introduce her with the syncopated pedal. After a week spent on working on holding the bass notes in the left hand, we tried to use the syncopated pedal with the right and then with the left hand playing at half speed. We still have lots of practising to do but I think it sounds promising. Now we also have to work on unnecessary body movements because Isabel started moving her body together with the foot just to get the pedal right.

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