Clavier Companion - July/August 2017 - 56
Creating a great lesson
pp (misterioso, sotto voce), to p (semplice), to mp
(dolce), to mf (cantabile), to f (espressivo)-really
gives students the tools to experiment with sound.
If students can phrase a melody, projecting it over
the accompaniment, react to different levels of
melodic projection, and follow the phrase contrast
(growth, diminishment, or simply contrast in
musical content) from one phrase to the next, this
is certainly a good direction in allowing them to
maximize their musical potential.
There are many facets to the development of
musicality; I will discuss two more. One is harmonic
awareness or sensitivity. That special chord, or that
special moment in which the harmony is altered
slightly from its previous statement, needs to be
expressed. It can be done by accentuation, by
broadening the tempo slightly (or accelerating
when intensity is increased), by falling away (or by
doing the opposite), by voicing a note differently,
or by using the pedal to create different effects.
Another aspect we need to teach is a careful
attention to tempo. This can be done by finding
a tempo range that is acceptable, writing it in
the score, and then finding (with the student's
contribution) if one or more tempi feel the most
compelling. Zeroing in on tempo in this way is an
effective means of determining the "right" tempo
for a piece.
Putting it all together
So how do we maintain humor, communication,
an attention to learning, success, and a focus on
beauty while teaching well? How do we apply
these ideas to TERRAC? Those remain the key
questions if we are to aspire to what we need to
see in a lesson: excellent delivery and content.
Through understanding the importance of
developing practice technique in our students, and
by having the background to know how to teach
the fundamentals, we can create the third side of
our triangle: efficient and effective teaching.
First, we need to think about the interaction we are
having at each and every lesson. Is there some fun
in the lesson? Are we communicating and sharing?
Did we laugh a few times, at least? Rapport in the
lesson is important for several reasons. It makes
the experience more pleasant and enjoyable for
everyone involved. It helps to develop trust in