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Puppet Videos

Dorian and Miss Bell: Piano Lessons in the Forest

Introduction

This set of puppet video piano lessons (for children of age 3 onwards) will guide, help and inspire your child in the first stage of their musical journey - as they learn the piano using the Dogs and Birds Piano Method. These videos will encourage your child to practise at home and therefore provide support for all those involved in the student – teacher – parent triangle of successful learning.

The Lessons

In these 91 lessons (amounting to 16.5 hours of video content), Dorian, a young Dog, and his teacher Miss Bell, a Bird, will lead you through the material in Dogs and Birds Book 1, including all the associated musical games and exercises which form an excellent foundation for the musical development of your child. Each video lesson contains a demonstration, by one of 5 young children, of the final result of each lesson.

The Basic Elements of the Dogs and Birds Approach

Each video lesson focuses on just one of the 6 musical elements which are all equally important in the Dogs and Birds approach - Finger Exercises, Improvisation, Composition, Rhythm and Pulse, Singing and Playing Pieces, and Ear Training.

Sample Videos from the Series

Sample videos are shown below - including examples of each musical element. Every lesson comes with a set of aims and tips to help with the study of the material.

Lesson 1

Finger Exercise: Finding the Dogs on the Piano 

Aims:

  • Find all the DOGs (Ds) on the piano.
  • SING or SAY “Dog” as you play DOGs everywhere.
  • Always sing each note at the pitch closest to the middle of the piano. 
  • Try to shape your “Owl’s Eyes” fingers and eyelashes in a relaxed way.

Tips: 

  • We recommend that you only use the Dog tiles in this lesson. When you learn a new animal is the time to show those tiles to your child. 
  • Watch this video a few times so you can copy everything really well.

Lesson 3

Rhythm and Pulse: Learning the Length of the Notes

Aims:

  • Distinguish between LONG and SHORT notes.
  • Understand that just as vehicles have different lengths (Cars, Big Cars and Very Very Big Buses) so do musical notes.
  • Learn to say the vehicle names as you copy the tapping of the back cover of Book 1.

Tips: 

  • Remember to make sure that your child is always successful.
  • Don’t forget to watch and copy this video a few times to feel the length of the vehicles.

Lesson 8

Ear Training: Learning to Recognize Dogs and Birds 

Aims:

  • Train your EARS, since music is all about listening/hearing.
  • Learn to LIFT UP Dog and Bird tiles/puppets with the CORRECT hands, as you sing.
  • Understand the game by LOOKING AT the piano keys as you listen and sing.

Tip: 

  • Listen to this video a few times and practise your lifting and singing as Miss Bell and Elza play the notes.

Lesson 31

Singing and Playing Pieces: Reading Ants: Pieces on Pages 14 and 15 

Aims:

  • Learn to read the ANTs from the musical staves and from the book.  The ANTs (played with the BLUE hand) live on the TOP BLUE line, below the BIRDs, as you can see in the illustration on page 14, where the ANTs are marching below the BIRD, on the BLUE path.
  • Play “Desert” on page 14, focusing on a STEADY, SLOW beat. First sing the animal names as you play, and then play it again COUNTING aloud.
  • This piece is very easy to play from the BLANK book, so use the BLANK book more often.

Tip:

  • If it is difficult to slow down then gently TAP the beat on your child’s shoulder.

Lesson 44

Improvisation: March or Lullaby? A Composition with Skips 

Aims:

  • Learn to compose a piece using Dogs, Birds, and Geese.
  • Play your piece softly and slowly like a LULLABY, then play it louder and faster like a MARCH.

Tips:

  • Do not use more than 10 notes for your composition and if possible start and finish with GOOSE.
  • If your child is interested in DOUBLE SKIPs, then talk about them by showing them on the piano.

Lesson 54

Ear Training: A Humming Copy Game with Bars from Pages 24 and 25 

Aims:

  • Train our ears by copying each other WITHOUT LOOKING at the piano.
  • Choose a bar (box) from pages 23, 24, 25 or 27 and practise ECHOING it back.
  • Hum a lot to help you find the correct pitches.

Tips: 

  • Remember to play the “PRETENDING GAME” to have more fun.
  • When you hum, listen to the notes. Try to find the animal name from the pitch. Some children very much associate the pitch with the animal name, especially if they sing all the time.

Lesson 63

Improvisation: The Horse, the Butterfly and the Bumble Bee

Aims: 

  • ENJOY painting a MUSICAL PICTURE on the piano of the story of Speckles the horse, Alice, the butterfly, and the bumble bee.
  • Relax your WRISTS and ELBOWS as you imitate the Butterfly, and use TINY, FAST MOVEMENTS to achieve a buzzing sound like a Bumble Bee. 
  • When you copy the trotting Horse try to play and say the &s very softly as you COUNT 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &.

Tips:

  • Play neigbouring black and white notes alternately when you “buzz” like a bee.
  • As you learn to trot make clicking sounds with your tongue – to make it more fun!

Lesson 91

Singing and Playing Pieces:  Dorian Gets His Certificate and Looks at Book 2

Aims: 

  • Talk about book 2 and try to play the first piece, “Skips or Steps?” with “OPEN FINGERING”. If you have difficulty then open only those fingers you are happy with.
  • Well done for finishing Book 1. You can now receive your CERTIFICATE! Ask your helper to write your name in the book. You are now ready to learn from the Nursery Rhymes and Famous Melodies book and from book 2!
  • GRADUALLY try to open your “Owl’s Eyes Fingers”, your “Glasses Fingers”, your “Goggles Fingers” and your “Binoculars Fingers” as you did with the Twinkle Twinkle tapping and finger exercise.
  • LEARN THE NUMBERS of your fingers in each hand from page 1 of Book 2.

Tip:

  • Remember to keep your fingers ROUNDED and do not rush to open them. Everyone should do this at their own pace.