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Listening with Purpose

As many of you know, I find it extremely important to actively continue with my own piano studies, as well as expand my piano pedagogy expertise through attending masterclasses and taking part in professional development webinars and classes. Most recently, I enrolled in a professional development course taught by Paul Myatt, Gillian Erskine and Leila Veiss which focused on Whole Body Learning. For this class, I had to submit video assignments where I incorporated my own "off the bench" rhythm and note exploration activities with one of my current students. Below you will see two videos of 7-year-old student, Emily, using whole body learning techniques to learn two songs. The piece that we used in the first lesson was "Lord of the Keys" by Daniel McFarlane. My lesson plan involved learning the rhythm and note patterns first on the drums while playing along with Daniel's Supersonics backing track before we took the score to the piano. It worked brilliantly; the success was instant! For the second lesson, we used the piece "Maracas" from Faber's Piano Adventures Level 2B series. Emily first used maracas to "shake" the rhythm with the correct hands while turning her body when she saw the V7 chord in the score, while playing along with the backing track off of the Piano Adventures app. This was Emily's first time being introduced to the V7 chord and when she sat down at the piano and played the song after the activity, it was perfect! Not only did she have so much fun learning her songs, but she also mastered them easier and faster using this approach. Watch the videos below to see firsthand how well utilizing "off the bench" activities with the whole-body works!