Making Learning Piano Easy - Video Demos
The Dogs and Birds Piano Method in Action
This short video depicting different elements of the Dogs and Birds approach is based on a presentation given by Elza at a music festival and conference dedicated to the works of Paul Kadosa in Budapest on 19 October 2013. Clips taken from Elza's piano lessons demonstrate the various elements of the method -- finger exercises, musical pieces, rhythm, improvisation, ear-training, and the use of the animal tiles and coloured staves.
Singing and Playing
Singing is an especially important part of the Dogs and Birds approach. The animal names have been chosen to be monosyllabic so that they can be sung. Singing should be encouraged at all times. Singing whilst playing helps the children develop their inner-ear and assists in producing a more musical performance. Children should be able to learn to sing the tune quite easily as they become familiar with the animal pitches. It should also be possible for the child to sing one part and to play the other part on the piano. These elements are demonstrated in the following clips taken from Elza’s lessons.
The first clip shows Eric singing the animal names as he plays. He plays the second piece in two different octave ranges on the piano. The second time he actually sings two octaves higher than he plays. This is good for ear training and also it is good practice to allow the child to move around the keyboard like this.
In the second clip Sam first sings whilst playing and then sings unaccompanied.
Finally Gina sings the melody whilst playing completely different notes (the left hand part) on the piano. This is very good training for playing polyphonic music.
Musical Exercises and Games
Dogs and Birds is not just a set of piano pieces. Rhythm exercises are interspersed throughout Book 1, and the Supplementary Notes contains a variety of different musical exercise and games to aid the child’s musical development.
In the first of the clips Yufei plays some rhythm exercises for Book 1. These are extremely important for developing both a sense of rhythm and co-ordination between left and right hands. Here Yufei is “tapping” on the piano by playing many notes simultaneously with the palms of his hands. This is very good for freeing up the arms.
In the second clip James plays a finger exercise from Book 2. This book contains many different technical exercises, which are linked with the piece that follows and prepare the student to play that piece
Use of the wooden animals and staves is another very important aspect of the method, and one which most children enjoy very much. The game Olivia is taking part in is good both for ear training and also for establishing the positioning of the notes on the staves.
The fourth clip show Amalie playing an Echo game in conjunction with the wooden animals.
The Dogs and Birds approach is particularly suited to group teaching, with the more able children in a mixed ability group using the blank notes version. These videos show short excerpts from Elza’s lessons.
In the first clip the children are sight-singing.
SINGING AND PLAYING 1
It is always a good idea to ask the child to sing a piece before playing, as is done in the second clip. You can always sing along to help.
SINGING AND PLAYING 2
The children sing again in the third clip.
PULSE AND RHYTHM EXERCISE 1
The last two clips show the children performing rhythm exercises. In the first of these one child provides the pulse and the others clap the rhythm.
PULSE AND RHYTHM EXERCISE 2
In the final clip the rhythm exercise is written for both hands. Note the children count throughout.