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Winner, Winner, Chicken Enchiladas!

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Well, at least here in San Antonio, Chicken Enchiladas are more appropriate than Chicken Dinner! 😉  Thanks to you all of you who participated in the inaugural Kabalevsky Piano Play-Along.  It was so much fun to play through Kabalevsky’s set of timeless pieces and hear all of your reactions as well.   Since this is the first prize drawing for the Play-Along, I included everyone who made some sort of comment either here or on the Facebook group page.

THE 5 WINNERS ARE:  Julie I.,  Debby Shahan, Nancy Wang, Helen Russel, and Kathy Williamson!  

Each of you will receive a complimentary copy of the Kabalevsky, 24 Children’s Pieces, Op. 39 from Hal Leonard. *Please email your complete street address to me, Elizabeth, at elizabeth@pianoteachercamp.com so we may get your copy to you soon.

A big thank-you to Hal Leonard for their generosity!  We look forward to awarding more prizes for future Play-Alongs.

Stay tuned…..the Play-Along topic for August will be announced soon!

 

 

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Kabalevsky Piano Play-Along: What Are Your Favorites from the Op. 39?

Unknown-824-pieces-for-children-op-39-dmitri-kabalevsky-paperback-cover-artSo what are your favorite pieces from Kabalevsky’s Op. 39 24 Pieces for Children.   List them here and you’ll earn an entry to the August 1 prize drawing! Explain why you like a particular piece (or two), and earn a second entry!  What about a new fave?  Ready, set, go!

TITLES:   1. Melody  2. Polka  3. Rambling  4. Cradle Song  5. Playing  6.  A Little Joke  7.  Funny Event  8.  Song  9.  Song  10. A Little Dance  11.  Song of Autumn 12.  Scherzo  13.  Waltz   14.  A Fable  15.  Jumping  16.  A Sad Story  17.  Folk Dance  18. Galop  19. Prelude  20. Clowns  21. Improvisation  22. A Short Story  23. Slow Waltz  24.  A Happy Outing

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Kabalevsky, Op. 39, Play-Along: Post Six (Nos. 17 – 20 Reaction)

Please don’t stress if you’re a little behind on the Play Along (like this post) or if you’ve just discovered the Play Along.  You can start now with the first Reaction post here and catch up a little each day.  You have plenty of time to read through the pieces and post comments until July 31.  The prize drawing for those who have read and posted at least 3 comments (either here or on the Facebook group page) will be held on August 1.

If you missed last week’s reaction post (the 5th one) on Nos. 13 thru 16, you can read it HERE.

Quick-scan thoughts for Nos. 17 thru 20:

  • The pieces are now solidly at the early intermediate level and the hands are really moving about.  LH is more technically demanding than seen before.
  • More pieces with 16th notes, and there are a multitude of rhythmic patterns present.
  • More complexity in the HT playing with opposing rhythms and articulations.
  • Kabalevsky seems to favor 2/4 time at this stage and earlier as well. It promotes a more lively character in the faster pieces.
  • In these four selections, the hands are approx. one octave apart most of the time.

Thoughts while playing….

No. 17  – Folk Dance  (I see “Dance” indicated in a different edition) 

When presented with the option of this piece, or No. 18, 19, or 20, one of my summer students selected this one in an instant.  She said she liked how the hands matched each other (we’ve seen Kabalevsky’s parallel movement of the hands in several pieces before).

My student is at the intermediate level and she learned this piece hands together in one week! (medium tempo) but….I must admit that she was highly motivated.  She said she really enjoyed how the hands jumped around and imitated each other, first the RH in m. 5  and then the LH in m. 21.  This student was familiar with D major (the scale, chords, and basic cadences) so the keysignature wasn’t a major stumbling block.

She and I worked on using forearm staccato similar to what is demonstrated here:

Read More

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Kabalevsky, Op. 39, Play-Along: Post Five (Nos. 13 – 16 Reaction)

Ok.  A day late, but I just couldn’t resist an extra day of 4th of July vacay when the opportunity presented itself.  Hope your summer is going well.  Are you managing to play along?

If you missed last week’s reaction post (the 3rd one) on Nos. 9 thru 12, you can read it HERE.

Quick scan thoughts for Nos. 13 thru 16:

  • We’ve ventured into more pieces in triple time.
  • The melodies have become more expansive (larger intervals contained within)
  • Kabalevsky has continued his inclination towards parallel movement between the hands (nos. 14 and 15)
  • A keysignature of more than 2 sharps or flats has appeared (no. 14)
  • A piece in the Dorian mode has now appeared (no. 16)

Thoughts while playing….

No. 13  – Waltz  (I see “Dance” indicated in a different edition) 

I gave this to a student this summer as a special project and I must say that she is “in love” with this piece.  She just can’t say enough good things about it such as:

“I like the beginning” – (at the first lesson)

“I just love the RH” – (at the second lesson)

I think this broad and evocative RH melody offers instant appeal, especially when combined with the sad key of D minor.  I’ve had several students in the past decide to learn this piece upon hearing it just once.  And if you want to teach both distinctive phrase shaping and the waltz style, then this is a great go-to.

When first introducing this, my summer student didn’t notice that the LH was in the treble clef (that’s one thing I like about Kabalevsky; he mixes those clefs).  We navigated the LH at the first lesson by playing only the lowest note of each stacked interval.  We named each low note as she played continuously from measure to measure (EX:  “D – D- rest, D – D – rest, etc.”).  Once done, she better understood how the LH moved along .  Later she played the LH as written watching the lower notes move horizontally while detecting the harmonic interval above (3rd vs. 4th vs. 5th).

Here she demonstrates the detached LH with a forward wrist motion for lightness:

Here, with her RH, she is showing the arching of the hand as it rocks from one side the other while playing the broken intervals (mm. 16 to the end).

She mentioned afterwards that she forgot the diminuendo in this excerpt above. Good catch.

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No. 14  – A Fable (seen before as “A Gay Little Story” in a much older edition.)

Similar to No. 20 in this set,  “Clowns,”  students love the major-minor shifts in this piece.  They discover that the dynamics follow the harmonies and then they spot the form of the piece instantly.  The student in the video below told me what convinced him to learn this piece:

“I liked all the movement, all the techniques involved, and the patterns.  It’s jumpy and happy, and I liked the A Major sound and how it felt under my fingers once I learned it, especially with the staccatos.”

It’s a wonderful piece for developing touches.  Later I asked him what was most difficult about learning this piece, he said:

“Getting the legato vs. staccato in mm. 3-4, combined with the drop-lifts of the wrist.”

After mastering this piece at a faster tempo, his tendency was to rush with all the fun he was having.  It’s quite the finger tickler at that point.  Here’s his medium-paced version:

 

No. 15 – Jumping  (I’ve seen this titled as “Galloping” and also “Leap Frog”)

Indeed this is jumpy.  It looks daunting to some students at first because of the  eighth rest- eighth note rhythmic idea (see RH, measure 1).  They forget that the eighth rest plus eighth note combination is the equivalent to 2 beamed eighth notes (of which I remind them).  I start out by saying that the LH in measure one is the hand that’s “jumping” (2-note slur followed by a staccato quarter note; I demo this) and then I tell them that the RH is “skipping” in m. 1 (due to its delayed start on the “and” of beat 1, which I also demo).

I have students learn the entire piece with both hands playing the straightforward rhythm of the 3 quarter notes per bar.   RH plays exactly with the LH in measure one, and then in measure 9, the LH would copy the RH, and so forth all the way to the end.  They can also match the wrist lifts by playing this way:

Here’s a demo:

After learning the piece with the LH and RH playing simultaneously on quarter notes and mastering the notes and fingering this way, it’s so easy for students to delay one hand by playing on the “and” of beat one.  I have my students count “1 – and, 1, 1” for each measure of the piece as they coordinate the rhythms of both hands.  Tapping the two rhythms together on the keyboard can also solidify the coordination.

They love the gymnastic effect of this piece once they get the hang of it.

 

No. 16 – A Sad Story  (also seen as “A Sad Tale” )

This is the follow-up to the happier story in No. 14, “A Fable.”  I think the two pieces would make a nice pairing.  The student could play No. 16 first and follow with No. 14.  Better yet, add No. 22 “Short Story” to the set and make it a trio!

I hear this piece in the key of “A” Dorian.  It seems to center itself on “A” as “home” and keeps returning to “A” even though it finally settles on “E” at the end.  It’s funny how the final “E” didn’t sound so incomplete to me.  My ear could accept it as a final note.

Now the question is:  which hand is really the melody?  The LH in the opening is marked cantabile with a louder dynamic which leads you to believe LH might be the melody though it’s not very lyrical. The RH has a nice sway to it which sounds cantabile as well.  Perhaps it’s truly 2-voice writing and both hands create compatible melodies.

Here’s Jason Sifford’s performance with the Univ. of Iowa Piano Pedagogy Recording Project. .  I like how he maintains an Andante tempo with just enough movement for a cantabile feel.

Look forward to your thoughts on this varied set for this week.  Have you taught any of these before? Any tips to share?

Play-Along Schedule:

  1. Introduction Post:  June 1
  2. Kabalevsky, Op. 39, Nos. 1 thru 4 reaction:  June 2
  3. Nos. 5 thru 8 reaction:  June 9
  4. Nos. 9 thru 12 reaction:  June 30
  5. Nos. 13 thru 16 reaction:  July 7
  6. Nos. 17 thru 20 reaction:  July 14
  7. Nos. 21 thru 24 reaction:  July 21

 

 

 

 

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A Note About Kabalevsky Editions

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When deciding on which Kabalevsky edition to use for the Piano Play Along, I did a little research to try and find the one that Kabalevsky himself may have overseen and edited, i.e., an “authoritative” edition.  I consulted with Joshua Parman, Classical Music Editor at Hal Leonard Corporation.  Here’s what he had to say:

“Because USSR copyrights were not recognized by many other countries for much of the last century, unauthorized editions of Kabalevsky’s music appeared until the mid-1980s all over the world. In addition, the rights of many individuals to have legal access to and representation for their own intellectual property was quite different in communist Russian than it is now under a different government structure. As a result, some composers simply did not make the effort to oversee “authorized” editions. Most illegal and inaccurate Kabalevsky editions have been suppressed under new international legislation in the last thirty years. However, the historical facts make the question of “authoritative” editions of Kabalevsky’s music thorny at best, and at worse, impossible to know. Supposedly, the Schirmer edition was seen and approved by Kabalevksy in 1985, but there is no evidence immediately available to support this claim. In editing the new Schirmer edition of opus 27, I found only one note difference between the Boosey and Schirmer editions and only a handful of differences in articulation and dynamic markings. Though this is a different opus number, it is telling that the editions were virtually the same.
 
So the answer is, we don’t know which is “authoritative.” But based on the things we do know, I would say Schirmer is the best bet.”

I found this very helpful.  I’ll probably continue to give my students the Schirmer or Boosey editions of Kabalevsky or at least consult them for accuracy if the student is using a mixed anthology.

 

 

 

 

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Kabalevsky, Op. 39, Play-Along: Post Four (Nos. 9 – 12 Reaction)

PLEASE forgive the delay and the technical glitch in getting this THIRD reaction post up for you.  Nothing like technology keeping your site so secure that it prevents the owner from logging in. Sigh.  Thanks for hanging in there. We should be on a roll now.  I have lots of interesting posts to share with you in the coming days!

It’s still not too late to start the KABALEVSKY PLAY ALONG. Tell your friends.  You can jump in whenever you like and post a thought or two here in the Replies below or on the Facebook “Piano Play Along” group page.  I’d love to hear from you especially if you’ve had experience in teaching any of the pieces below or if you’ve discovered a selection you really like.  Don’t hesitate to post a question.  I’ll answer as quickly as I can.

Did you miss my second reaction post? You can read it HERE.

Quick scan thoughts:

There’s quite a contrast in style within this set of four pieces (Nos. 9 – 12) with a jump in difficulty in No. 10 with its dotted rhythms, movement around the keyboard, cadences, and a heavy use of accidentals.  Kabelevsky is still promoting various keyboard touches with staccatos, slurs, and accents.  He seems to enjoy placing the hands an octave apart, two octaves apart, and as little as a second (step) apart.

Thoughts while playing….

No. 9  – A Little Dance  (I see “Dance” indicated in a different edition) 

If taken too slow, this could sound more like a march than a dance.  If played at the Allegro molto tempo, it sounds more like an effective romp or stomping dance with a feeling of 1 beat per bar.  A student should already be comfortable playing strong clear triads in the LH in order to manage the 4-note chords.  I told a student to think of G minor with an F in m. 5 and then shift to G major against the F.  This seemed to help him know exactly what to look for when targeting these crunchy LH chords.

In the last 4 measures, the LH expands and contracts quite rapidly.  I asked the student in the video below to shift to the new LH positions during the rests so he could manage the chord changes more easily.  Here’s a short video showing this:

This piece is quite effective if the dynamics are played in sharp contrast to each other.  Ask the student what might be happening in the actual dance during the echo sections.  Your thoughts on what it could be?

No. 10  – March  (I see “Quick March” indicated in a different edition) 

This is quite a jump in level compared to the pieces before.  I would teach this later down the line after a student has had solid practice with dotted quarter – eighth note rhythms and a little experience with sixteenth notes.  The student in the video below has had some previous training in 16ths, but not much.  He’s also played a few pieces with 2 sharps or 2 flats in the keysignature.

Here are his thoughts on the challenges he found in this piece (in his words):

“It’s a bit tricky.  You have to be exact with your rhythm.  I can picture a march with this and it sounds like a trumpet playing.  The hardest part was mm. 8 through 12 because of the flats and because the LH jumps in with the melody in mm.  9-10.  The last cadence is also tricky because it moves downward instead of upward like in mm. 3-4.”

In the video below, I asked him to play the dotted 16ths incorrectly vs. correctly.  The first time he plays, the 16ths sound more like triplets and in the second playing he makes the rhythms sound more like true dotted eighths followed by sixteenths (though it’s still a little bumpy; he’s still working on creating a better demo).  Sluggish 16ths are a common problem for students when playing dotted-eighth sixteenth rhythms.  It takes careful listening, and the jumpiness here doesn’t help matters.

No. 11 – Song of Autumn  (I see “Autumn Song” indicated in a different edition) 

This piece reminds me very much of No. 8 “Song” with its parallel melodies, except for the fact that Kabalevsky begins this piece on the anacrusis (pick-up) rather than on beat one.  It gives the piece a sense of lilt despite the somber B minor key.  I might tell a student to imagine the wind blowing leaves in different directions as their hands move upward then downward in tandem through the slurs.  The hands playing 2 octaves apart seems to add a sense of heaviness or a grey, cloudy aura to an autumn day.  Have the student describe what he/she sees on a B minor autumn day.

Here’s a student demo.

The student wanted to achieve a steady Andante feeling.  His brother, standing next to him while taping this, told him he needed to add more shape to his phrases and more dim. where indicated. 😉

No. 12 – Scherzo  

This piece is similar to the No. 6 – “A Little Joke” with the use of a repeated pattern moving stepwise up and down the keyboard.  You could secure the rhythm of the main melodic motive using words like “blue-berry muf-fin” (that’s the first thing that came to my mind – always thinking of sweets!).  The student wouldn’t need have experience with 16ths to play this piece well, but I would at least explain the difference between 16ths and 8ths if the student didn’t already know.

There could be a tendency to rush with this piece once it starts moving along.  Once again, the brother of the performer in this video piped in and told him that he rushed a little at the end.  This was a younger brother informing the elder.  Picky picky…

Look forward to your comments!

REVISED Play-Along Schedule:

  1. Introduction Post:  June 1
  2. Kabalevsky, Op. 39, Nos. 1 thru 4 reaction:  June 2
  3. Nos. 5 thru 8 reaction:  June 9
  4. Nos. 9 thru 12 reaction:  June 30
  5. Nos. 13 thru 16 reaction:  July 7
  6. Nos. 17 thru 20 reaction:  July 14
  7. Nos. 21 thru 24 reaction:  July 21

 

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Kabalevsky, Op. 39, Play-Along: Post Three (Nos. 5 – 8 Reaction)

It’s time for the SECOND reaction post for the Kabalevsky Piano Play-Along! Are you playing along?  If so, let me hear from you, even if only to register a “thumbs-up” on piece(s) that grab you.  I will answer the questions posted on Post Two soon!

Did you miss my first reaction post? You can read it HERE.

Quick scan thoughts:

The pieces here are longer than the first four (except no. 8), but highly patterned making it easy for the player to navigate and make sense of the material.  Though it looks much harder, No. 5 –  A Little Joke,  is one of the easiest Op. 39 Kabalevsky pieces to play and memorize (more on this below).  Kabalevsky still highlights treble clef reading in both hands in these pieces (except for no. 8), or at least playing in the middle to upper registers.  It seems to add a lightness to the character as does his meticulous use of staccatos, slurs, tenuto, etc.

Thoughts while playing….

No. 5  – Playing  (I see “A Game” as the title in a different edition, though I do see “Playing” more often in other collections)

I think of kids jumping about when I play this frisky staccato etude.   This is the first time Kabalevsky has the hands alternating and the key of B-flat major could be a little tricky for some elementary students if they haven’t worked with it much. Though it’s marked forte, I would still emphasize a lighter, bouncy staccato and would aim toward a quick tempo of one pulse per bar.

Here’s a short video of some blocking maneuvers I would have a student perform in order to understand the general motion of the hands as they travel.  It would also help the student solidify the fingering which Kabalevsky has abundantly provided in the authentic edition.

First you will see blocking of measures 1 – 8 followed by a 2nd blocking maneuver for measures 8 through 14.  The latter helps declare the LH as the leader in the phrasing at this point.

 

No. 6  – A Little Joke  (often called “Scherzo,” “A Little Scherzo,” “Running Along,” etc. in other collections)

This piece falls into the “plays easy, sounds hard” category though it doesn’t appear that way at first glance.  Point out to students how the hands remain in a stationery position at first and then travel together downward by step (2nds).  Blocking the chord shapes helps illustrate this point.

Once students get the hang of this piece, they just love it and can’t wait to play it faster and faster.  Warning: they typically want to rush mm. 9 to the end.  A metronome, counting aloud, and slow, very steady practice can easily prevent it. Start the piece quite slowly at first, emphasizing articulation, and gradually increase the tempo each week.  Polishing each hand alone is important for matching the articulation. The major idea here is to acquire the difference in sound between the two-note slur and the staccatos that follow.  Keep working on the “drop-lift idea” for two-note slurs.  The wrist should move forward off the keys (toward the fallboard) as much as the tempo may allow.

Here’s a young student working on this idea:

Ignore the flying R.H. pinky above.  We’re working hard on relaxing it!

 

No. 7  – A Funny Event (seen in some collections as “Conversation”)

This dialogue piece definitely has a “ha-ha” or “hee-hee” implied while the hands perform a copy-cat.  I often tell young students to add words to the motives to achieve the back-and-forth banter between two people.  They have fun with it.

This is all about bouncing the hands up and down on the keys to achieve a wrist/forearm staccato motion.  Finger staccato alone would slow the bounce effect and it might add some tightness to the sound.  You could definitely block each measure to navigate the matching movement of the hands (and block 2 mm. segments, both hands simultaneously if you like)  Naming occurences of 5-finger patterns also helps.

Here’s a young student demonstrating a tapping technique for developing an awareness of forearm staccato, and then applying it in context.

Notice how he didn’t bounce on the F#, but instead tried to reach for it?  We’re working on a direct vertical bounce on any key, black or white.  Requires trust in your aim.

 

No. 8  – Song  (seen in some collections as “Conversation”)

Quite a sad tune, isn’t it?  I ask students to describe the type of song and create a story around it.  The young student in this video said this song sounded lonely, as if someone didn’t have anyone to play with.  Clever.  She continued by adding that the melodic movement had hills and valleys as if the person was searching for her friend by walking to the top of a hill to look and then back down again (Andante, hence the “walking”).  I expanded by saying that she needed to reflect this idea in her sound (yay! – instant phrase shaping achieved by an imaginative picture).  I also pointed out that the crescendo in m. 5 sounded like it was leading to “hopeful B-natural” rather than the “sad B-flat” from before.  But then all didn’t end well in the last 2 measures, did it?

In this video, the student is trying to capture the shapes of the phrases while remaining as legato as possible.

Playing the hands two octaves apart is quite a different physical feel for kids though the resulting sound is a much more satisfying.  The student in the video was disappointed in her final octave (written legato, though too big of a stretch for her).  She said she needed to make her hands more like “rainbows” and arch them as if she really could reach the octaves.  This is why I love working with the kiddos.

Are you participating in this play-along? What are your thoughts on Nos. 5– 8? 

Play-Along Schedule:

  • Introduction Post:  June 1
  • Kabalevsky, Op. 39, Nos. 1 thru 4 reaction:  June 2
  • Nos. 5 thru 8 reaction:  June 9
  • Nos. 9 thru 12 reaction:  June 16
  • Nos. 13 thru 16 reaction:  June 23
  • Nos. 17 thru 20 reaction:  June 30
  • Nos. 21 thru 24 reaction:  July 7

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Kabalevsky, Op. 39, Play-Along: Post Two (Nos. 1 – 4 Reaction)

It’s time for the first reaction post for the Kabalevsky Piano Play-Along! If you haven’t played through the first 4 pieces, some of what’s ahead may spoil it for you, so use a little caution!

Have you seen the entire Play-Along plan yet?  You can read it HERE.  Don’t forget! Reply at least 3 different times here on the blog or on the Facebook discussion group page, and you just might receive a prize from Hal Leonard (thank you, Hal Leonard!).

Quick scan thoughts:

All four of these pieces would serve as good introductory Kabalevsky works for mid-to-late elementary students.  The first 3 pieces have both hands playing in the treble clef which would reinforce that type of reading if your student hasn’t had much experience with that.  Though each is very short, Kabalevsky seems to be concentrating on phrasing (mostly parallel phrasing) and varying articulations.

Thoughts while playing….

No. 1  – Melody 

Lovely piece for melodic RH playing in legato style using simple intervals.  The first question a recent student asked me was what were those “lines on the half notes?”  This is a great piece for introducing tenuto (held; sustained) to a curious student.

The student must negotiate a legato LH shift from a blocked 5th using fingers 5 and 2 to a blocked 3rd using 3 and 1.  Students should release the 3rd with a wrist lift to return to the 5th with ease.  Here’s a video of  young student negotiating that maneuver.   Notice how she counts in order to time it.

No. 2 – Polka 

This cheerful dance (not too fast, only allegretto) offers LH the opportunity to be expressive.  The legato phrases should be delineated by releasing the slurs with gentle wrist lifts.   For those who haven’t played much syncopation with the RH, the hands together (HT) coordination could be a bit tricky.  I recommend this rhythmic preparation as a prep to HT playing (I asked the student to tap with dynamics and play the LH longer as opposed to the shorter, lighter RH):

Playing one hand smoothly while bouncing the other lightly, plus timing the releases of the LH with the RH – yikes.  Notice how the student in this video below times the LH release with the RH staccato on beat 4.

Fingering – the Authentic Edition begins with RH 2 and 4 (which I like for a smooth transition to the next measure).  In the last measure, RH ends with 5 and 1 moving to 4 and 2 which might be a stretch for small hands when aiming for double legato.   5 and 1 to 3 and 1 would work if the top voice remained legato.

No. 3 – Rambling (I see “Marching” in a different edition; what about your copy?)

I noticed immediately the inclusion of staccato, tenuto, and staccato/tenuto marks.  Varied articulation seems to be the point of this “etude” in what really sounds like a march (a somber Dm one).  I would tell the student to create more of a plodding effect in the LH vs. the bouncier, lighter staccatos of the RH, and also to hold the tenuto notes (half notes and whole notes) for as long as possible.

Let’s see if this student comes close to this idea:

The RH does seem to “ramble around” as the title indicates. The LH in m. 4 (authentic edition) has 3 and 1 indicated though a 2 and 1 would work.  The student and I thought that perhaps Kabalevsky wanted a stronger attack into the keys, hence the 3-1 choice.

No. 4 – Cradle Song

This piece looks like it should be played fast, but I reminded this student here in the video that it was a lullaby.  He immediately changed his approach.  The dynamic and the 2-note slurs should work together to create a tender, soothing sound.  The authentic edition uses finger 5 moving to 4 on the descending 3rds in the RH.  The student here in the video said that it does make a quieter sound compared to 5 to 3 (though he does have bigger hands and can handle the 5 to 4 easily).

When releasing the first slur in each measure, the student needs to know what note is coming on beat 2 in order to target it.  I might have the student practice only the first 3 eighth notes saying  “E-G-E” and then continue with m. 2 saying “E-G-D” and so forth.   Practicing the LH alone many times for the sake of it’s own independence wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Final Thoughts:

The first 3 pieces are wonderful for teaching balance between the two hands.  Whenever the two hands are so close together with LH in the Middle C area, balance can be particularly difficult.  The middle area of the piano keyboard can easily drown out the treble area just above it.

Each of the 4 pieces presents a different technical problem which qualifies these as small etudes.  They certainly don’t sound like typical etudes.  That’s the beauty behind these.  I would definitely have the student locate common intervallic patterns within each piece for quick learning and work with them to truly make a difference between staccato, tenuto, and staccato-tenuto.

What are your thoughts on Nos. 1 – 4?

Just in case, here’s the Play-Along Schedule:

  • Introduction Post:  June 1
  • Kabalevsky, Op. 39, Nos. 1 thru 4 reaction:  June 2
  • Nos. 5 thru 8 reaction:  June 9
  • Nos. 9 thru 12 reaction:  June 16
  • Nos. 13 thru 16 reaction:  June 23
  • Nos. 17 thru 20 reaction:  June 30
  • Nos. 21 thru 24 reaction:  July 7