Cool Practice Tip #4 with ice-cream sticks: PERFORMANCE DIRECTIONS

(This post is part of our Ice-Cream Chillin' flavour selection in the Parents Can Coach 'What's In My Positive Practice Toolkit' series.)

Learning to read music goes beyond matching written notes to their letter names to their position on the piano. Students also need to know how to interpret the musical symbols and terms that direct the volume, tempo and articulation of every note and phrase.

Having a set of ice-cream sticks for practising performance directions can come in handy. You can start small with just a few of the common symbols and terms, than gradually expand the selection as your child's repertoire grows.

For example, you can introduce the symbols/terms p (piano) and f (forte) and have your child play the same note at two different volumes - soft and loud. For younger children, combine the performance directions deck with the animal deck, and use the animals to illustrate soft and loud, or slow and fast.

Check out the photos in this post for ideas!

Volume levels from pp (pianissimo) to ff (fortissimo) - or very soft to very loud. Use animals to illustrate crescendo or gradually getting louder. Reverse the selection for decrescendo and diminuendo, both meaning gradually getting softer.

Animals to illustrate tempo. Arrange them from slowest to fastest to explain accelerando or gradually getting faster. Reverse the same selection for rallentando or ritardando, both meaning gradually getting slower.

The way that animals move can be useful for articulating staccato (crispy, detached) and legato (smooth, joined) notes.

Examples of performance directions

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