Learning a New Piece

When learning a new piece:
Before playing a new piece on piano, clap three, finger three, play three times. Identify same and different measures, like students learned in kindergarten. Write down dynamic changes of a piece.
—Arlyce Black, Littleton, Colorado

With each piece, briefly discuss its historical period.

To bring out more character and mood in a piece, have students say or write five to 10 words that describe feelings they often experience. Ask each student to describe the circumstances when feeling these emotions. Then have them write some of these words in the score where they seem to apply.
—Submitted by Manabu Takasawa, Kingston, Rhode Island

Pay attention to the title of the piece. Try to make a story or picture to go with the music.
—Submitted by Aurora Emdjian, North Providence, Rhode Island

Learning a new piece means more if the student understands the title, the words and how the music tells a story. Beginning with even the shortest of pieces-analyze it for repeated patterns, always sing the words and always discuss the composer.
—Music Learning Center, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio

Imagine that your piece is the soundtrack to a movie. What scene does each section of the piece accompany? What characters, colors and emotions are happening on the screen? How does the movie evolve as the music changes? Imagine all possible related arts and listen to the music come alive.
—Submitted by Elizabeth Baxter, NCTM, Farmington Hills, Michigan