Piano lesson: Just talk

• Reinder (age 7) aks what that thunderbolt is on the sheet. A quarter rest it is.

• Marit (age 8) plays a Dutch song about a boy who is alone: Tussenin. 'Why does it sound so sad?' I asked, expecting the answer 'because the boy feels lonely'. But she sad: 'Because it starts with a 'd'. Songs starting with a d always sound sad.' She didn't had any lesson about major and minor yet...

• Pauline (age 9) plays Bach's menuet on her own way: midi. I couldn't say her that she put her hands on the 'wrong' note. I only told her that the original was an 'another' note. It inspired me to finish it this way.

• Stijn (age 11) played a little song with fifths. 'You can end with just the melody (g-g-c) in the left hand too', I said, 'in stead of a fifth'. 'No, that's not nice', he said, 'it's sounds like in the church then.' He didn't study any music history yet, but already 'knew' that religious music often is (was) in unison.

• Lesson about the F clef and the second stave: 'The notes below the central c need a place too.' Wout (age 9): 'O, I see, they give them a bunk bed!'

• Ira (age 7) played her piece rather staccato. I showed her what she did. 'Yes I hear,' she said, 'your fingers seem to have a cold. They do 'achoo!' all the time.

• An email about one of my sheets: 'My teacher asked me where the rest of the piece may be?' Well, I mostly don't transcribe the whole song as long as it is. That's not only because it would be too long to study. It would be too boring to play on the piano. A song has his whole group to play with: drums, basses... you can't put them all in one piano sheet.

Wout (age 9): 'Isn't it amazing, that one can make thousands of different pieces with only that one piano!'

• Lesson about the fifth. 'Beware of the b!', I said. Jana (age 11) put a painfull facial expression. 'What's up?' I asked. 'I already heard it in my head,' she said. 'The 'b-f' sound, which has to be b-f#.'

I asked Ira (age 6) to put her both hands (for the first time) on the piano on c d e f g, one octave from each other. 'Ooh', she said, 'that's too close, there is no place anymore for myself!' She meant her body between her arms...

Margot (age 11) had the lesson about chords. After that we practised a part of I would stay, Krezip. At home, Margot confused both lessons. The result was surprising: midi

• According to Simon (age 8) the lower notes are 'at the bottom' of the piano in stead of the left side.

Pauline (age 7) had her first lesson and already knew 'do re mi fa sol la si do'. I aksed if her mother had told her that. 'O no', she said, 'those names always have been in my head. They've come there on their own.'

In the Dutch language a sharp is called kruis, which means 'cross', because of the shape it has. 'Remember the note is higher, because a cross is always placed somewhere up-high', I said, as a memory aid. 'Oh yes, I know what a cross is', said Yarah (age 7). 'Little Jezus had a cross against the wall above his bed!'

June (age 7) plays the right hand. 'I didn't practise the under text yet', she said, (a non existing word that she made up herself). Meaning the left hand.

Louise says that on a sheet every first note of a measure is 'behind the corner'.

The Dutch language uses a beautiful name for a grand piano: vleugelpiano, which means 'wing piano'. More beautiful was Olivier's idea, he thought it was called vlinderpiano, meaning 'butterfly piano'.

Eva asks if the fingerprints are written on the sheet. She means the fingering.

Olivier (age 13) loves Bizets l'Arlésienne. 'There is this place where the music seems to turn around', he said. We found what he meant by this 'turning around': the modulation at 1:02. That was a nice try from him to discribe a modulation!

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