I hope your day is full of treats!
P.S. The sheet music is available HERE.
A Beginner's Guide to Harmonization
Harmonization is an important skill for pianists--one that helps with both ear training and improvisation! Simply put, "harmonizing" is choosing the best chord to match a given melody note.
So, how does one learn to harmonize? Below I will share some tips for how I teach my students this skill. I will focus on diatonic harmonization (tell your students to remember that term and impress their friends!) which means using only chords that can be created from your given key signature. Since most pop and folk tunes use only diatonic harmonies, this is a great place to start.
Ready? Let's harmonize!
Any tips you use with your students when teaching harmonization? Please share in the comments below!
I am very excited to share that my first ever Christmas songbook has been released by the Composers Community at Piano Pronto Publishing!
"Medley Magic" contains 9 holiday song medleys for early intermediate to intermediate level students, in a variety of styles.
Click HERE to see and hear the music from this book!
Below are a few of my favorites from this collection:
Read my previous posts on teaching students to play by ear here, here, and here.
If you have followed my previous posts on playing by ear, you have learned some tips to get your students identifying 2nds, 3rds, 4ths, and 5ths by ear and playing short phrases from familiar songs. Now it is time to encourage students to play some entire (short) songs by ear.
I find the best familiar melodies to start with are Christmas songs. The melodies are often short and simple, and students have sung them many times before. With the holiday season approaching, this is the perfect time of year to work on ear training with Christmas tunes!
Here is a list of several Christmas carols that you can use with your students. All are short and use repeated phrases; all use mostly intervals of a fifth or less; and all can be played in the key of C major by starting on the given note. As always, encourage students to sing and use their hands to determine the intervals before they play. More advanced students might also try harmonizing these melodies by ear using chords from the key of C.
What do you think? What familiar tunes do you use with your students to work on ear training?
Happy Birthday to...
Know anyone with an October birthday? In my family we have two in the same week!
For a different twist on the traditional "Happy Birthday" song, you might enjoy my "A Very Happy Birthday Rag," available HERE from the Composers Community at Piano Pronto Publishing.
Chrissy Ricker is a pianist, teacher, and composer from North Carolina. These are her thoughts on teaching, composing, and all things music.
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