Keys to Music Learning

Music Moves for Piano: Deep Dive with Janna Olson Part 2

May 09, 2024 Krista Jadro and Hannah Mayo
Music Moves for Piano: Deep Dive with Janna Olson Part 2
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Keys to Music Learning
Music Moves for Piano: Deep Dive with Janna Olson Part 2
May 09, 2024
Krista Jadro and Hannah Mayo

In this episode, Hannah and Krista continue their chat with Janna Olson, finishing their conversation about the Music Moves for Piano Christmas books and moving on to a deep dive of Book 3.

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Introduction to Audiation-based Piano Instruction and Music Moves for Piano

Ready to learn more about audiation-based piano instruction and Music Moves for Piano? Visit Music Learning Academy for online courses, webinars, and resources.

Want to dive into audiation-based piano instruction? Check out Music Moves for Piano by Marilyn Lowe.

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, Hannah and Krista continue their chat with Janna Olson, finishing their conversation about the Music Moves for Piano Christmas books and moving on to a deep dive of Book 3.

Support Keys to Music Learning through the Keys to Music Learning Community!

Join us on Facebook!
Introduction to Audiation-based Piano Instruction and Music Moves for Piano

Ready to learn more about audiation-based piano instruction and Music Moves for Piano? Visit Music Learning Academy for online courses, webinars, and resources.

Want to dive into audiation-based piano instruction? Check out Music Moves for Piano by Marilyn Lowe.

Hannah Mayo: [00:00:00] Welcome to Keys to Music Learning. I'm Hannah Mayo of Mayo Piano. 

Krista Jadro: And I'm Krista Jadro of Music Learning Academy. 

Hannah Mayo: Join us as we discuss common goals and challenges in the piano studio and offer research based ideas and solutions to guide every one of your students to reach their full musical potential with audiation.

Krista Jadro: For part two of our deep dive into Music Moves for Piano, we are continuing our discussion with Janna Olson, finishing our conversation about Christmas tunes, and diving into book three.

Hannah Mayo: I have to tell you a story. You just reminded me. I think be because of the way that we teach Christmas music now. [00:01:00] Christmas music is a very big deal in my part of the country and in my studio with my students. They love Christmas music. And because of the way that we are teaching this music through the audiation approach, through pattern understanding, I can sit down and play. a plethora of Christmas tunes and change the keyality and turn major songs into minor songs and improvise. And I did something recently, because of our little book four, book five study group to improve our own understanding of those later books. There is a project, I can't remember if it's in book four or five, but there is a project where, Marilyn instructs you to take a melody and harmonize every single note of the melody with a different chord and like slow it way down and the rhythm doesn't have to [00:02:00] be the same. I mean, it should basically kind of be unrecognizable as the original tune.

But, that process was so fun and memorable and I was teaching some preschool lessons maybe a week or so ago, and we have a time in our lesson where they do quiet activities while I play. It's kind of like a little breather moment where they've done a lot and they're about to do a lot more, but right in the middle of the lesson, I let them just chill and listen to me play.

And they might be coloring or, you know, building with music blocks or doing a puzzle or something like that. But that idea popped into my head. And so I took We Wish You a Merry Christmas. And the idea is that you can use any chord that contains the tone that you are playing. So you can come up with all kinds of like radical harmonic changes, and I did this and [00:03:00] it was so fun for me.

Like I was just sitting there having so much fun, and my students just think that you know, I'm just playing stuff. They know what I'm doing. And I just thought like what a wonderful way to synthesize different elements of the Music Moves curriculum. You know, you take this Christmas tune, you take this project from book four or five, and you synthesize that.

And then I came up with this whole really satisfying, musically satisfying, adventurous, creative, kind of weird at times. But, it was just like a little musical adventure I was on. And it was in a judgment free zone because my students, " oh, Miss Hannah's playing the piano again, that's fine." 

Janna Olson: Absolutely, and you know what?

It's really fun when you're doing Christmas Music, because this really works well. I have had students, you know, accidentally discover different harmonies and instead of feeling like, ooh, I'm playing an [00:04:00] arrangement of someone else that we could really need to make accurate, it just is a jumping off point.

Like do you like that chord? Well, let's try and see if that works again later on in the second phrase or would you like to change it? There's just so much freedom with it. And maybe since we're on the Christmas music topic... so this took me a long time to get on board with the Christmas tunes because I I just felt like from my own experience, I love to play others arrangements. There's amazing arrangements out there and I try to work some every year up, to play what everybody else has written and explore new ones coming out. I thought my kids wanted to do the same thing, so you're always trying to find these appropriate arrangements for students to play at Christmas time.

 I didn't think they'd be satisfied with just learning tunes and chords. and putting chord roots to the tunes, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Working your way into what is familiar for the students, and it's so satisfying for them to be able to [00:05:00] play the things that they know. And even if it means just playing the tune and having, and I shouldn't say just playing the tune because some of these are really challenging for beginner pianists, but me playing duet or another student playing a duet part or creating just like little arrangements or taking snippets of tunes and putting them in.

There's lots of keyboard games pieces that work really well with Christmas tunes. I always try to grab the, the winter themes of Holiday Bells and Snowflakes and those tunes and mashing them together and you get all kinds of interesting creations that come out of it and it's been really fun. It has been, for me, one of the most musically satisfying parts of my teaching, is to watch them build Christmas repertoire or holiday repertoire over years, so we just keep coming back to it.

And it gets deeper each time, so then they're changing their accompaniment patterns as we go along. They're able to play [00:06:00] it in more keys, etc. I won't go on about that because I know we wanted to move on to talk about books three to five as well. 

Hannah Mayo: Well, I have a good segue though, into books three, three, four, five, that comes out of this kind of talk about accompaniments.

When giving really good examples for Music Moves about how Marilyn can sort of like take a thing from its very beginnings and lead us through this path of skill development in order to prepare us for more advanced literature. I really love the example of Old Woman. The tune Old Woman starts as a song to sing.

We're singing, we're moving, we're listening to patterns. And then, in book two it becomes a piece to play, a performance piece, and the student learns the melody and [00:07:00] gets a very simple tonic dominant accompaniment that can be blocked, or it can be arpeggiated like (Hannah sings) DO SO, DO SO, TI SO... or you could play it as a block, depending on what the student is comfortable with.

We usually do it both ways. And then in book three, it comes back and it's, Minor Old Woman. And at that point, if a student has not yet arpeggiated the tonic and dominant accompaniment, I'll have them do that because it requires a little bit more coordination. And then on the next page, you get Triple Old Woman and the accompaniment becomes more challenging because then you get that Du Da Di (Hannah sings the accompaniment) 

and then there's this like whole new level of coordination that happens. And then right after that, even though it's not Triple Old Woman, we get to, the performance piece, which was a song to sing a long, long time ago. I get all my French songs mixed up. I think it's [00:08:00] French folk song. And the accompaniment becomes the full tonic, DO MI SO, DO MI SO, TI FA SO.

Okay. And so that, if you go look at that very popular, fun to teach, Beethoven Sonata in G Major, Opus 49, I want to say. That accompaniment pattern is all over the place in that Beethoven Sonata. And there's also the Sonata that, it's a Divermento, but sometimes called a sonata, a Haydn G major, that my students have been playing.

And that's another one where the accompaniment is like directly reflected in the accompaniment styles of the performance pieces in late book two, early book three. So, I just have to talk about that whenever we were talking about how these pieces, even though they are very short and you're going, how does this [00:09:00] lead to advanced music making or high level playing or advanced repertoire?

And it really does because those little bite sized moments are found in Beethoven Sonatas and Haydn Sonatas, and they're all over the place. They're just on a more massive scale in these longer, bigger pieces. So that's my segway. 

Janna Olson: Yeah, and this happens all the time. Yes. It's like constant. And I think it's part of even, you know, the learning sequence activities that we go through, which we're not going to talk a lot about today, which is all the patterns and sequential patterns that we're doing alongside of all of these little pieces.

The goal of all of this is to make connections and make comparisons. So the idea of doing these little pieces allows for the student to link together musical understanding concepts, skills, whatever, in a way that allows them to [00:10:00] then have familiarity, a place of familiarity to learn new things.

So having something that they are grounded on means that they're feeling much more confident as they're learning those new skills. And I can't even, like, I wish maybe someday I'll get my act together and write down all the things that are happening, like lesson transcripts. Because the number of times that we have a sudden and kind of a strange moment in the middle of the learning process, I can tell they've suddenly thought of something that reminded them of.

And so then off we go on this little tangent. And it happens all the time because they'll hear something, that they're playing in a completely unrelated piece of music and say, oh, that reminds me of this. Sometimes it's a pop song. Sometimes it's a video tune. Sometimes it's a folk tune from earlier on.

They'll all of a sudden just start playing whatever it is that it reminded them of. And I feel like those are highlight moments for me because of the learning that's [00:11:00] happening. And Hannah, just one little thought. So this is, I have written in unit two of book five, there's a wonderful Exploration/ Creativity: Instructions for Creating Introductions to Melodies.

And so, you want to select a melody, you name the keyality and the tonality, the starting syllable of the melody, audiate the beginning of the melody, and observe rhythm patterns and tempo. And then you improvise a four macrobeat phrase, and the chord progression is I-I-V-I, which is exactly what comes from Old Woman.

And so I have written in my book, Old Woman works very well here. If we are needing to choose a tune, and when I've tried it myself, it can lead to all kinds of interesting little improvisations on Old Woman. And at this point, it's so easy for them to go away from the original melody and create all kinds of things with the material that they're using.

So there [00:12:00] you go, another Old Woman connection. 

Hannah Mayo: And it took me a really long time to understand, like, why are we doing Old Woman again? What is she trying to tell us? Because everything in those books has a purpose and a reason, and it took me a minute to figure out what the, the purpose behind, Oh here's Old Woman again.

But now I get it. And we were leading up to this more advanced, more highly coordinated accompaniment, which would eventually lead into the performance pieces that come after that. Which will eventually lead into these, you know, massive sonatas if the student wants to go there. 

Krista Jadro: So, Janna, talk to us about books three through five.

What do you got?

Janna Olson: I'm trying not to like bore you too much with talking too long, but because I get so excited about this and I realize maybe it's not as interesting to everybody. But I want to start with just maybe highlighting a [00:13:00] couple of general thoughts about books three to five. And then I've got some specific things that I have found that as I've gone into advanced repertoire, I've looked back and said, Oh boy, that's important.

So, I'll try to share some of those with you. First of all, I already mentioned this, but I think working through the activities in Music Moves, yourself, is really important. And I know in pedagogy class, we've talked a lot over the years about trying not to be the page turner teacher. So that means that you don't do a lot of preparation.

Many method books are so beautifully laid out for us that you almost can just kind of turn the page. Let's see what's on there. It's self explanatory. Music Moves is not going to be like that. This is Music Moves. When you sign up for this, you sign up for work. And just be at peace with that, that it's going to be lots of work, and you're going to need to lesson plan, and you're going to need to think about it.

In order to be able to transfer information, [00:14:00] principles, from the learning experiences that the students have, you're going to need to be thinking about it, and really immersing yourself in it. And I know I've talked about this before, but that word "benevolent experimentation" is always with me. You're not injuring the student.

Do what you're able to do within your own skills, resources, interests. I am not going to teach like Marilyn. We are three very different people here today we all come from different experiences and backgrounds and interests and I think we need to celebrate that. Celebrate your strengths especially.

Think about what you do really well as a teacher and then make that the core of what you do. Make it less about worrying about all your deficiencies. Work on those, but don't let them become the focus of what we're doing. This is a lot. This is not our normal pedagogical [00:15:00] experience. This is much beyond that.

You're really signing up almost for a graduate level pedagogy course. So, take the time. What I often have done, made my own checklist similar to what Krista did. It was an extremely valuable experience. It was somewhat tedious, so I did it over a period of time. But I compared all of the categories.

So, for the most part, the main ones that you're going to see compared between the student book and the teacher's guide are the Keyboard Geography and Technique. And you're going to see Keyboard and Geography Technique laid out for the student with checklists when they're learning new tonalities, or cadences, or arpeggios.

That's all going to be laid out. It's very comparable also to the Keyalities and Tonalities book, which can become a valuable resource as students are progressing. There's also Keyboard Geography and Technique in the Lesson Time Objectives in the [00:16:00] column beside, on the first page of each unit. And there are also Keyboard Geography and Technique recommendations in the Teacher's Guide.

And sometimes they overlap, and sometimes they don't. So. It's valuable to compare each, notice what's same and what's different for yourself. There's many little suggestions that I missed along the way that when I came back, you know, through years of teaching, I realized how valuable that was and I needed to make a priority. To do it. And not everything is going to fit into your lesson by any means. There's just so much there, but start to see where you can integrate activities. I think, Hannah, you were talking earlier about, I'm noticing, you know, the importance of recurring activities. I've noticed in the improvisation activities how often the rhythm that she gives as an example for the student to improvise with is actually a rhythm from one of the [00:17:00] songs that they're going to sing or play.

So I've made little notes often, oh this comes from German folk song, and then they're also able to build, more sequentially, skills. We just need lots of time and experience. And then there's going to be music analysis recommendations later on in book five. So this is also something that's new and Marilyn has done this amazing job of giving us suggestions, but keep track of as you are working through, just in your musical experience of things you hear or things you're maybe working on yourself or other repertoire other students are playing, make connections as much as possible and notate those down like Hannah said, right?

I kind of like to keep a running list in my studio. They're usually sticky notes, which are easily lost, but we're working on a sonatina and I'll be thinking, Oh, this is exactly like whatever. And [00:18:00] so the more you make connections, the more your own, I think excitement grows with the teaching. So work through it yourself and then reach out and ask questions.

So for example, very early on in the process, I was teaching book three and I, there is no indication of how you add the subdominant into the cadence. And so I had the opportunity to ask Marilyn, how would you do it? And so she recommended "Do Mi So, Do Fa La, So Fa Re Ti, Do Mi Do. And so that's the form that I taught, but she said right away, there are many other ways of doing it.

And I've loved teaching it that way because that is so often what we need. And if you think of Mozart's C major, I won't, I can't play it right now, but it has those patterns in it. Like so much of that little cadence is in the first phrase. So she really knew when she was doing that, that these were going to be patterns that you need.

And it's a recommended form, but there's [00:19:00] other options. And later we're going to play those cadences in block form. So they're sung and played in a broken form, not broken, separated style. But there are other options for it. 

And then the other recommendation is to slow down. So when I get to, I would say even the middle of book three, my students are playing more repertoire. So I'm working through it more slowly. Book 4 is even slower, and I would say Book 5 is extremely leisurely. There's just so many interesting activities, and we're not always doing things completely sequentially here, because they're ready for a lot of the activities.

So the things I do sequence is I do try to introduce the tonalities in the order that Marilyn has them in the book, except Aeolian is something that we play quite early on in piano repertoire, and so that might be something that they've already experienced earlier. I've, used the books more intensely with a student that's interested in [00:20:00] composition or creativity, so then they maybe are a little bit more of a core of a student's lesson time than another student who is playing a lot more repertoire, and that's their area of interest. And that repertoire could be video game music, or it could be core classical music. So I do try to incorporate what we consider to be core classical music. Not classical, but that's often what's referred to this, you know, the standard canon of piano repertoire.

I'm trying to work towards that. Incorporating that into most of my lessons, but I try to adapt it according to the students. That little, three part, I think it's Frances Clark, teach the student, and then teach music, and then teach the piano. That becomes really important to me, integrated throughout everything that I'm doing.

So, let me maybe highlight some of the practical activities that I've found, and we haven't mentioned the word reading yet, but of course [00:21:00] that's something that we're thinking about and I'm going to refer to that a little bit as more notation activities, because reading is very broad and hard to define, but we do a lot more notation activities obviously when we get to those books.

So I want to go back to book two briefly, because there's two things that I keep using all the way through. And there are many things, but the first thing is that we introduce the student, this is a very foundation of notation, to the five C's in book two. And the five C's label the regions of the keyboard according to the staff.

So we've got the middle region, the treble region, the high region, the bass region and the low region. And the bass region are the notes that we generally find on the lines and the spaces of the bass clef. And the keys that are in the treble region are the ones we find in the region of the treble clef.

And associating those notes, [00:22:00] regions of the keyboard with the staff eventually will start to get more and more integrated but a super important little activity and we're still talking about it in advanced rep. So I love that and it just stays with us. I keep referring back to it. And then there's a really fun activity of changing from duple to triple in book two near the end.

So we keep the beat. You play, you keep the macrobeat and then play microbeats and then you switch back and forth between duple and triple. And what I would say about this is that experience, students have experienced both duple and triple in many dimensions of playing and moving and chanting. So we've done all of this a lot.

They have equal experience with duple and triple. They're ready for this and they can be quite young. and able to do this switching back and forth, and it comes naturally often in my experience. [00:23:00] They chant, they move, they improvise, they change meter for familiar tunes. They're doing all of this. So then, when you're trying to play music that is changing from duple to triple, or we're getting triplets over duplets, we're getting cross rhythms, this is not an issue for them when we get into repertoire that uses it. So that little activity, I think, is like gold. As we're doing it in a really sequential way, I would use it, and I would use it again, and I would come back to it many times. So those are the two things out of book two. And I don't know, Hannah, you're nodding, if there's any other activities that I'm missing, but there's so many creative improvisation activities we could talk about, but those are the two that really, I feel like, build towards advanced repertoire.

Hannah Mayo: Yeah, I didn't fully appreciate the five C's early on in Book Two until we started relating them to the staff and I understood the five Cs as a teaching tool well [00:24:00] before Music Moves for Piano, but it wasn't a highly practical thing and I didn't really apply it. It was just kind of like, Oh, here's the staff. Now it's time to teach the staff. Here's the five C's here. They are on the piano. This is what they look like here. This is what they look like here. But Marilyn creates a whole exploratory thing out of it. And then she continues to refer to it in little ways that you don't notice at first, like for example, there's, I can't remember the piece, but it says, rather than giving a full keyboard map, it states, find the G between treble and high C, or something like that.

I don't know if that's the exact instruction, but so you're starting to reinforce this idea of the different areas and then, whenever they get to the six white piano keys. Sorry, the six piano keys, meaning the whole tone scale. And she refers to it in lots of different [00:25:00] ways, but eventually it's called the whole tone scale and students are doing a lot of improv with the three white keys and three black keys.

Anytime we get to one of those activities, I like to reinforce with which C will you choose, you know, because the instruction says choose a C or you use the three white keys starting with C. And so I will say, do you want to use bass C, do you want to use high C, do you want to use middle C, and that's like another little small way of reinforcing that.

And then I've noticed that with my students who are in book three and the reading and writing book, when we get to those tonal pattern writing, they have just clearer sense of where things are supposed to go, and then after they've written the tonal patterns, and then we come back to it maybe a week later or two weeks later, and I say, okay, let's play the tonal patterns that you wrote last time.

They know exactly where to go, [00:26:00] because we are always thinking about the relationship of the keyboard areas to the staff areas. And that has made reading maybe not easy, but certainly that transition into reading more notation has become a lot more seamless. I love the five Cs. 

Janna Olson: And you know, it also transfers really well over when we're learning the Do Signatures.

Yes. And I often use the cards that have all the Dos on it so that we can stack the Dos. So stacking is just basically, you could also say you're staffing them. You're putting them on the staff. 

Hannah Mayo: Oh, I like that. 

Janna Olson: I thought about that because I misheard someone saying that they were stacking the Dos.

I thought they were saying they were staffing the Dos, so that made me think of that. But we're putting them on the staff, and I'll just tell you from a lot of writing and research into sight reading, it is far more important that you know where you are on the keyboard, according to what you're seeing on the [00:27:00] staff, than that you're able to name the note.

Like, naming the note is not essential. It's feeling what you see on the page and you need to know where you are on the keyboard. So that's absolutely critical and don't skip it. And come back to it a lot and just trust that this is going to help the student form that foundation. We keep talking about it, to build the notation skills.

So maybe I'll move a little bit over to book three, which is what we were going to be talking about, and I wanted to just say that it's full of concrete and practical activities. Marilyn used to say this frequently, that book three was designed for that nine year old brain that is beginning to, you know, the aptitude is, according to Dr. Gordon, is stabilizing and they're needing more concrete activities. I would just say that many of these skills that we learn in book three can be integrated earlier. And I know both of you have [00:28:00] told me in the past of ways you do this and Marilyn did this extremely naturally. So she just always said, you need to do what the student needs.

So what are they needing? And the more you've looked through these skills, and hopefully today I can kind of tell you in my experience, which have been the most important skills. Those, the more you work through them yourself, the more you are aware, Oh, I can do this with this student now. So they can integrate that.

So the things that we begin to talk about in book three is getting really comfortable with naming all of the keys. And I find that most students, at about that nine year old, they're really interested in doing that. Like, why don't the black keys have names? And we've already been calling them what their names are.

It's not like I avoid naming keys. I just don't expect them to need to drill it, all the key names. But we do all the sharps and flats with the bonus double sharps and double flats, which is fascinating. And the students who have that kind of a mind love to go down that [00:29:00] avenue. You don't need to, but it's fun spending time.

We begin to do a lot more work with pedaling. We've been using the pedal, but the syncopated pedaling activities, the way Marilyn introduces them are gold. There are lots of ways of teaching pedaling. I just haven't ever come across anything that is as successful and as natural as the way we learn pedaling in book three.

So that is one of my favorite activities. We start to work with all of the major and minor triads in she teaches them in four categories in book three. And if you haven't looked at that, this is amazing. This can also be something that you might incorporate, especially with a transfer student much earlier who already has triad experiences.

I love then how we do triads and inversions. She calls it Triads in Three Positions. So we're not just learning the key names [00:30:00] at this point. We're learning that Do Mi So becomes Mi So Do and we sing it and that is so valuable because you're gonna use that in your repertoire all the time. We'll say what, let's sing this pattern. Oh, this is a C chord, or this is a G chord, or whatever it is. You start to make connections within it by using the solfege to recognize how the notes of the triad invert. There's a little activity that I have found so valuable and I try to bring it back as much as I can. She asks the student to play any major triad and name it So, Ti, Re, then you improvise with it and then you move to its tonic triad. So that means that we're actually, instead of thinking sort of forwards, which is Do Mi So, and So Ti [00:31:00] Re. We're going backwards, so sorry I changed keys, but So Ti Re, Do Mi So. And that, oh, that's gold because that allows you to really start to hear the relationship between the sounds and think in a different way. And there's lots of fun little improv and tune activities. Old Woman is right in there, working with it and naming the last Do as the new So, and then we start on So and go the other direction. So it's amazing, and it's really quite magical, actually, how all of those build towards.

Yeah, Hannah, and you've talked about this in the past. 

Hannah Mayo: I think that it kind of opens up this whole world, because if you think about all the repertoire that is built around frequently changing tonics. You know, there's a lot of Baroque music where it's like V-I, in successive keys. And when you think about sonata form and [00:32:00] going to the dominant and then back to the tonic and it's just everywhere.

There's dominant/ tonic relationships that are not the tonic but tonicizing other keys and it just happens all over the repertoire and as soon as you get to those pieces where it is changing more frequently and you have that conversation, you say oh it's just a pattern of dominant to tonic, dominant to tonic, and we might map it out or we might notate it out and the student goes oh well, that's easy. It's like, oh yeah, it is easy. 

Janna Olson: It's made me often think, also the last time I heard Dr. Gordon speak, he gave the keynote address at the, I think it was the 2013, Gordon Institute for Music Learning Conference. You can correct me if I'm wrong, but he talked about ongoing research and he said you might want to think about is it better to introduce subdominant first before you [00:33:00] introduce dominant.

So in our music learning sequence we always learn tonic and dominant first and then add subdominant later. And he said in his experience it was the most natural way of learning for students who are growing up in a Western music tradition to learn tonic and dominant. But he said moving forward, that might not always be the case.

But I feel like in piano repertoire, learning tonic and dominant first really forms a wonderful foundation. And in book three, then Marilyn starts to, this is where we really start to play subdominant. We've been singing it a little bit before, but we haven't actually been playing it. And this is something else that you could also incorporate earlier if your students are doing repertoire that have subdominant in it. So the cadence, the little cadence that I was singing earlier is what we start to integrate. It's having subdominant and it's so step by step. By the time they finish book three, they have attempted to play all of the major and [00:34:00] minor keys, tonic, subdominant, and dominant.

And for me, this is the moment at which the world just opens up. When they are able to do this and comfortably, they're not going to be familiar with all the keys, and we're going to spend a lot more time with keys as we move into different keyalities, as we move into Book 4. But this point where they've actually started to realize they can do this.

Improvisation. I just thought about one of my fairly new Book 4 students wanted to play Silver Bells as her Christmas tune, and I think it's often in B flat major, and she hasn't done B flat major quite yet, but it was seamless for her, like, just effortless to go in and work with the tune and we sang the tonal patterns and it was not difficult for her to get to the point where she was actually harmonizing it without my help and creating her own little arrangements.

So there's just so much less teacher involvement of working through something step by [00:35:00] step once they get to this point. And that, I think, would be the case for repertoire. For, you know, learning tunes, which traditionally we call it by ear. The idea of taking tunes, learning tunes, away from notation.

Familiar tunes, it all becomes less arduous. Like, there's not so much with quite so many weeks involved in the learning process, it becomes much more intuitive for them and natural in the learning process as they move forward. One other skill in book three that I'll just highlight is, well, maybe a little bit more than that, but learning to play a triad on every scale degree, happens right at the end of a three. This is amazing. So now we've gone beyond, we've been exploring it. So just preceding that she has asked the students to improvise using some of the other chords within a key. So if we're in G, we might be using the ii [00:36:00] and the iii, the minor chords that belong in the key of G.

So they've explored this a little bit, but then once they get to this point, they also then learn the four different types of triads, which are major, minor, augmented, and diminished. I just feel like these are such foundational skills, but we kind of learn them at the right time. It happens when they're really beginning to really need all this expanded experience and skill and knowledge.

So that's phenomenal. And then the one other little thing that I wanted to mention. So this is just a tiny little place in the teacher's guide in book three, in unit 11. So I always have to search for it. She asks them to find a major triad and play it. So I'll just sing it for you. Do Mi So, and then find "So" finding that, and she says it's a half step, so we're labeling, they're learning, the difference between what is a whole step and a half step on the keys, and then we've talked about chromatic [00:37:00] scales and whole tone scales, all of that is integrated in book three, but that little activity I carry with me with all students moving forward because being able to find Mi Fa helps you know where the subdominant is, it helps you find so many patterns within a repertoire and melodic patterns, knowing that little half step.

And then we've already learned that Ti Do is a half step, and so now they pretty much have the structure of any scale that they need when they figure out where those patterns are. So that's kind of the end of book three. I don't know if you have anything to add. There's so much in there. I was just trying to highlight the things that I know I constantly and continually use moving forward when they're advancing.

Krista Jadro: I don't have anything to add, but as I mentioned before, reading through the different sections is really helpful when you're preparing to teach students in book three. And it just reminds me, this was a few years ago. Was this [00:38:00] maybe 2020 or 2021 when we did that study group with Marilyn all about book three?

And that really brought so many of the things that you're talking about to light for me and just, oh, that makes sense. Like, okay, I see where this is going and how important these skills are for those students. 

Janna Olson: And if teachers who are just getting into Book 3, we're still, this is just all new. Like, we're all the pioneers that are beginning to just launch into teaching this way.

I love how, Hannah, you formed a group. I taught in isolation for so long, and so I feel like my own learning process was slow, and I was hesitant. I was trying to do everything correct. I've mentioned this before but, and I really think that slowed me down from the freedom to really teach and explore.

But if you can find some other teachers, and now with our online community, who would be willing maybe to just be accountable to work through Book 3, Book 4, Book 5. You know, [00:39:00] Krista, you're developing materials, but you're one person and it's a lot to do and you're doing an amazing job of putting together these resources and courses for us.

But we can, you know, pre learn as well before you even are teaching students in Book 3 by getting together with other people and discussing and working through. And Book 3 is just amazing. It's just fun. I mean, for me. I just love it. And my students do, too. 

Hannah Mayo: Yeah, and I'll also just mention that in Book 3 is where you start to get into the step by step process for pedaling, which is a skill you can bring down, you know, if you have a student who is in need of a good pedal procedure.

I did this recently with We Wish You a Merry Christmas, a book two student playing We Wish You a Merry Christmas. She had done a lot of sustained pedaling. She was very curious about the pedals and all what each one does. And I said, you know what, let me just pull out book three and let's see [00:40:00] if we can go through these pedal projects.

And she did great with it. And then she was pedaling for We Wish You a Merry Christmas. 

Janna Olson: I know, and you know what, I know very confidently this was a skill Marilyn taught her younger students much earlier, too, because there are some videos of quite young students doing beautiful ly.

She had it down. What was the thing she used to say, "I've cracked the code." Yeah. Yeah. 

Hannah Mayo: Well, it's very easy to understand. I've had some relatively good pedal procedures presented to me. I've used some, but this is probably the easiest to access, to follow. And then she, once again, she reinforces that through repetition, through the teacher book, when she has you doing things like pedaling a scale.

One tone at a time and pedaling each tone and that [00:41:00] repetition comes back and it just, it's, it's more seamless. It's an ease of learning. Like you said. 

Krista Jadro: This concludes part two of our deep dive into Marilyn Lowe's Music Moves for Piano curriculum with Janna Olson. There was just so much to talk about that we had to divide this into three parts.

Join us next time as we dive into books four and five. Thanks so much and we'll see you soon.