Dynamically Speaking

Laughing ChildrenHarmonica Lesson Outtakes
Today in class we were working on Dynamics; how to play loudly and softly, how to change from one to the other, and the standard notation to support everything. Our first building blocks were for piano (softly), and f for forte (loudly).  ‘So what does mf mean?’ asked the teacher, expecting one of the group to remember mezzo forte, for moderately loud. Simon’s hand went up as he answered ‘Mexican fort‘.

The teacher moved on to very loud, ff, and very quiet, pp. ‘Who can remember the term for very quiet?’ asked the teacher. ‘I know, I know‘, said Charlotte, ‘it’s pea in a cinema‘. When the chuckles died down, the teacher corrected Charlotte. ‘That’ll be pianissimo Charlotte. And who can remember the full name for the keyboard instrument we talked about?’. ‘That’s easy,’ said Jake, ‘it’s piano fortnight.’

Aren’t you a little short for a Stormtrooper?

Laughing ChildrenHarmonica Lesson Outtakes
Today we were translating the notes from the C major scale into standard notation; dots, lines and spaces. We learned that the notes on our harmonica would be played by the right hand on the piano. Consequently we see this musical symbol at the start of harmonica music. It’s the Treble Clef and it circles the G line.

So what do we call the squiggle on the left of the stave?’ asked the teacher. No reply. ‘Does anybody recognise it from learning another instrument?‘ the teacher prompted. ‘I know, I know‘, said Alfie, ‘it’s called a Treble Alliance‘.

Doh a deer!

Laughing ChildrenHarmonica Lesson Outtakes
Today we were learning about the notes in the musical alphabet and the C major scale. Like the days of the week, the colours in the rainbow and the continents of the world, we learned there are seven letters in the musical alphabet; A B C D E F and G. We also learned that if we start the alphabet on C, the order is C D E F G A and B. Olives iBut when we only play these seven notes, the sequence sounds incomplete; like singing Do Re Mi Fa Sol La and Ti.

When we add an eighth notes, another C, the pattern of the major scale is complete. ‘So what do we call the distance from the first note in the major scale, to the eighth note in the major scale?‘ asked the teacher. No reply. ‘It begins with O, like octopus, octagon and October‘ the teacher prompted. ‘I know, I know‘, said Jake, ‘it’s called an olive‘.