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A Young Person's Guide to Phrasing/Shaping? (Read 1805 times)

Offline rubinsteinmad

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A Young Person's Guide to Phrasing/Shaping?
« on: December 12, 2015, 03:00:29 AM »
Hi,
   My little sister is learning the piano at a beginner/elementary level. She is very accomplished at learning notes. However, she has something that I'd really appreciate if it was different. When she is asked to play dynamics in a piece, she does the crescendos, etc. beautifully. However, it seems like they are in wierd places. How can I teach my sister phrasing? (Just so you know, I'm only her older sister; not actually her main teacher.)
    I know a popular method is by telling the student to sing the phrase, but are there more effective alternatives? I think she might gain an amazing sense of phrase by listening to many great recordings, but how can I get her to listen to them without forcing her? One idea I have is playing recordings while she's sleeping. Any other suggestions?
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Offline dcstudio

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Re: A Young Person's Guide to Phrasing/Shaping?
«Reply #1 on: December 12, 2015, 03:53:14 AM »

as a general rule... when the melody goes up--so does the volume.  start there. :)

Offline hardy_practice

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Re: A Young Person's Guide to Phrasing/Shaping?
«Reply #2 on: December 12, 2015, 06:53:33 AM »
For starters get her into a good choir.
B Mus, PGCE, DipABRSM

Offline michael_c

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Re: A Young Person's Guide to Phrasing/Shaping?
«Reply #3 on: December 12, 2015, 10:27:44 AM »
For starters get her into a good choir.

Yes. And maybe you could sing songs together. Phrasing comes naturally from singing. Listening to the old crooners (Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire...) is a great education in phrasing.

Offline mjames

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Re: A Young Person's Guide to Phrasing/Shaping?
«Reply #4 on: December 12, 2015, 11:22:20 AM »
^and Billi Holiday!!!

Offline dcstudio

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Re: A Young Person's Guide to Phrasing/Shaping?
«Reply #5 on: December 12, 2015, 11:00:17 PM »
^and Billi Holiday!!!

oh yeah...  Billie Holiday imitated a trumpet when she sang...now that is some tremendously cool phrasing

"I hate straight singing.  I have to change a tune to my own way of doing it. It's all I know."                                                                                                 
Billie Holiday

Offline hardy_practice

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Re: A Young Person's Guide to Phrasing/Shaping?
«Reply #6 on: December 13, 2015, 08:24:50 AM »
Her key was intimacy.  She started singing at tables.
B Mus, PGCE, DipABRSM

Offline quantum

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Re: A Young Person's Guide to Phrasing/Shaping?
«Reply #7 on: December 20, 2015, 07:03:57 AM »
Maybe try the reverse.  Get her to speak a paragraph of text in strict metronomic monotone, and contrast with the same in normal speech.  The value in speech inflections is too often overlooked because it is a normal part of what we do every day.  Ask her to think of punctuation, if she were to insert such devices into music what would it sound like. 

Sing, sing in a choir, listen to vocal music, etc.  Can not be emphasized enough. 
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Offline dcstudio

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Re: A Young Person's Guide to Phrasing/Shaping?
«Reply #8 on: December 20, 2015, 02:53:45 PM »
Maybe try the reverse.  Get her to speak a paragraph of text in strict metronomic monotone, and contrast with the same in normal speech.  The value in speech inflections is too often overlooked because it is a normal part of what we do every day.  Ask her to think of punctuation, if she were to insert such devices into music what would it sound like. 

Sing, sing in a choir, listen to vocal music, etc.  Can not be emphasized enough. 

I take that one step further...   I have my younger piano students say a nursery rhyme in time---then I put  a funk beat/or any beat really, on the keyboard and we say it again inflecting it along with the drum track.. I change the beat a few times and have them tell me what words we have to stretch or squish to make it work.  Then we sing the nursery rhyme along with different tracks and we talk about how we sing some words or phrases louder/softer just because of the beats we hear from the drums.   They love it.

I do the same for my voice students--except I play their songs on the piano and exaggerate the dynamics as well.

Offline jgallag

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Re: A Young Person's Guide to Phrasing/Shaping?
«Reply #9 on: March 27, 2016, 11:09:43 PM »
There are a couple of rules of thumb that may help:

1.) Unless otherwise marked, the last note of each phrase is the softest, and there is a breath before the next phrase. Starting here will make a world of difference.

2.) Out of four, go for three. In a typical four-measure phrase, the beginning of the third measure is the high point. Crescendo to it, and decrescendo after.

I would start by applying these two, and if you pm me I can send you a copy of a wonderful article by Marvin Blickenstaff that contains these rules and more for artistry.

Offline scientificpianopractise

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Re: A Young Person's Guide to Phrasing/Shaping?
«Reply #10 on: March 28, 2016, 12:56:31 AM »
I am going to research this issue during the next year.  There are different ways to phrase the same series of notes of course but could there be more than 10 different types of phrases?  If anyone has good ideas for me to start with, please email me at piano@avabiz.com