Part of our practice adventure, "Catch Me if You Can!" is that each room includes a challenge students must master. When students enter the DYNAMICS DINING ROOM, their challenge is to apply the dynamics they know to a song they have practiced!
Here's how it works. On my trusty little white board, I give them a dynamic marking to start their piece with. As they begin to play the song, I continually erase one marking and apply another. Their job? To adapt as quickly as possible to the new marking and continue playing through the song!
The goal is to do it smoothly without stopping to "figure it out". Depending upon the length of the song, I may tell the student to repeat the entire song or a portion before they begin to play.
Here's what I noticed they are catching from the challenge:
1. They now pay attention to them! It may seem obvious, but some students just plow right through dynamic markings without giving them a thought. This challenge helped them to see dynamic markings have value and definitely change the way the piece comes across.
2. Knowing the piece well helps them pay attention to the dynamics! Dynamics tend to be the last thing we apply after learning a song. This challenge helped them to focus on them much better since they already knew the notes and rhythm.
3. Dynamics add more fun to a piece! Yes, they are catching this! As I did this challenge with them, I tried to apply dynamic markings that didn't always make sense to the style or message of the piece. This certainly helped them to analyze what we did and to take a better look at what markings made sense in the song.
All in all, I'm seeing a lot more value placed on dynamic markings lately which makes me extremely happy as it does them!