TEACHING Piano Adventures®

The Dance Band

Lesson Book page 40

let's get started

  1. Can you tell time on a clock? In music we "tell time", but in a different way. The 4/4 at the start of this piece is like a clock. (Explain 4/4 time signature.)
  2. Would you like to be the drummer for The Dance Band? Let's tap the rhythm on the keyboard cover (or a drum). Use both hands. Then tap with your hands as they are used in the piece. (See Video)
  3. Can you point out three measures that step up D-E-F?
  4. How many measures are the same? Try them out.
  5. Look carefully. Can you find a C five-finger scale that steps down?
  6. Is your dance band ready to roll?
4/4 meter implies an impulse on the downbeat.

explore and create

Rhythm patterns are part of 4/4 meter. Remember—music is not math!

partner pages

Technique & Artistry

p. 18 Drummer with The Dance Band


p. 26 The Time Signature


p. 14 Classical March, p. 15 Rex, the Tyrannosaurus

pedagogy pointers

Playing in 4/4 meter has already been experienced in many pieces, and rhythm patterns common to this meter have also become part of the student's rhythm "vocabulary". The step taken here is to identify 4/4 meter and explain what a time signature does. At this point it makes sense to count 1-2-3-4, but you could still revert to counting "1" for each quarter, "1-2" for each half note, and so on, or use this type of counting as an alternate.

Once again, as in My Invention, the left hand plays only Bass F. Here is another chance to have the left-hand third finger spring off the key to set the downbeat and to release weight from the shoulder.

accompaniments on disk

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see it in action

Teaching Video 39

Because there has been much prior experience playing in 4/4 meter and using rhythm patterns including quarter, half, and whole notes, it's easy to introduce time signature as a way to express measured counting. Showing how these note values can add up to four is a natural outgrowth.

By tapping on the downbeat and clapping on the remaining beats Patrick begins to sense the accented and unaccented aspects of meter, especially when this activity is combined with singing well-known melodies. Circling time signature in the music becomes a job for him, seen in a small video segment.

Tapping the rhythm for The Dance Band transfers the concept of 4/4 meter to a piece. By tapping softer and faster Philip hears and feels rhythmic patterns, not just single pulses.

Learning to tap on the off beats happens naturally, without fuss or explanation. This slyly introduces syncopation—emphasis on the off-beats—that is so much a part of the jazz idiom.

Philip discovers how to learn a piece by checking what's the same and what's different. His dance band really rocks with energy. And what fun it is to challenge the teacher. Faster!

Ask Yourself

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