Having a great sense of pulse is a crucial part of being a musician. We do lots of activities in our lessons to build a strong internal sense of pulse. Tempo is the speed of the pulse.
In terms of tempo, this is what I expect from all my pupils, right from beginners:
- to be familiar using a range of Italian terms for tempo.
- to feel confident playing in time to a metronome, teacher part or backing track at different speeds.
- to be able to play their repertoire pieces fluently at a suitable speed for the character of the music.
I’m excited to bring it all together in our new studio challenge- behold Tempo Travellers:
Playing music at the right speed makes it come alive! Here’s how we make this happen:
- Understand the meaning of the Italian tempo terms
- Develop control of techniques to play it at a range of speeds
- Reward the extra effort and resilience required to build and control the speed of repertoire pieces
Tempo Travellers is a 3 level challenge for them to progress or ‘journey’ through, with 3 ‘missions’ per ‘port of call’ :
- Vocab Volcano: identify 5 Italian tempo terms. This could be through a game, listening exercise, or matching cards.
- Technique Tower: play 5 different technical exercises (I use Piano Safari, so it might be from the animal techniques it uses) or scales at 3 different speeds, in time with the metronome or backing track. These are no-read pieces so we can focus purely on the technique and the tempo control.
- Repertoire Ravine: play 5 different pieces at the speed I set. (I usually expect pieces marked Allegro to be at least 120 bpm, for example). This doesn’t have to be with a metronome. It’s designed to focus on building up fluency- the part of practice that kids sometimes need a bit of a boost with!
Each pupil will get one of these log book sheets to track their own progress:
And when they complete each level, I’ll pin a luggage label on the map with their name on:
This time, instead of little prizes, I’m offering my pupils lesson-based reward tickets- they can choose their favourite activity:
More like this:
Summer Practice Challenge
Memory Masters Challenge