Skill and Concepts Overview of Our Step 3 Curriculum:
Understanding how essential it is to have an overarching plan, we have laid out exactly how we approach piano learning in this skills and concepts overview.
Musical Elements - Dynamics: loud/soft, Tempo: fast/slow, Structure: ABA, Pitch: high/low, Melodies: move by step
Scales, Chords and Keys - Songs in C Major, 5-finger scales - C and G, Occasional C and E two-note chord
Technique and Articulation - Bubble hand, 5-finger C position – RH, 5-finger G position – RH, C and B in LH, Concept of held notes and short, notes and technique, (Extensions: LH octaves with RH)
Rhythms and Time Signatures - Crotchets, minims, semibreves, quavers/Quarter notes, half notes, whole notes and eighth notes, Songs in 4/4, 3/4 and 2/4
Pitch Names and Notation - Pre-reader - melodic contour with rhythmic notation, All note names as letters
Our cyclical curriculum and our system of differentiation are what makes our program different. Each song has challenge levels so that each child can progress at their own pace. A cyclical structure makes the curriculum flexible so that new students can join a class any time.
A solid foundation in keyboard geography:
Baby Piano Step3 students get to know what the notes are, where the notes are, how to find them independently. Through games, songs, and pompoms, they are given anchors to help them build their knowledge and be able to navigate a piano or keyboard without gimmicks or tricks. We teach our students that a C is a C, not a random animal or some other object. They are very good at singing the musical alphabet and can apply that knowledge to the keyboard.
Learning through play is a well-established concept at this age, and luckily for us, we can very easily ensure that we are meeting this important learning process. First, we enable them to play and explore the piano! Something which they very naturally enjoy! Then we can teach skills and concepts through games. Each of our games follows the theme for the workbook and ensures that learning objectives for each lesson are embedded.
Technique from the very start:
Our pieces build finger strength, 5-finger positions, and a bubble hand posture. We have games and exercises that develop knowledge of the different sounds that can be achieved through the way that we play the piano, and these relate to the stories we are telling.
Structured for maximum impact:
Lesson structure for little ones is key to ensuring they are taking on board new skills and concepts, whilst continuously consolidating and reviewing previous ones. The way that we can achieve that is to have a fast-paced, multi-activity lesson structure that is suited to this age and provides opportunities for a variety of learner-types.
We also make sure that our lesson structure and content is consistent from week to week, so that children can manage their expectations and behave in the way that they know is appropriate. Here is what our typical structure looks like:
· Game or song to introduce new concept as a starter activity
· Making a floor piano with laminated keyboards and using pompoms to find the note for the lesson
· Finding the note on the main piano, coloring it in on our workbook and drawing the letter name
· Singing and playing the song for the lesson around the main piano, singing lyrics, finger numbers and letter names
· Children practice at the keyboards (with headphones) and perform their piece as both a solo and ensemble once they are all ready
· Lesson ends with a game/song, and of course a sticker.