ASMTA Conference: Skeleton Learning

By Lim Angela Tchoi


What makes a performance successful?

-Confidant delivery

-Expressing personal interpretation

-Executing technical clarity and artistic esthetics

-Organic not artificial bodily movements

-Sense of ownership



Necessary Preparations:

-Thorough knowledge


-Secure memory



Skeletal Learning-

-Reduce to achievable task

-Add layers of elements

-Encourages student to concentrate on quality of execution

-Putting puzzle pieces together

-Colored pencils are great tools for recognizing different voices. i.e.: “Play just the blue notes”



-Apply to skeleton steps;

-Establish tempo and big sense of pulse first

-Take breaks and breaths

-Dynamics: variety and gradation



Raising the Standards-

-Apply refinement procedure to all students: from the very beginning

-Explore various sounds one can create on the piano through different types of touches.

-Describe music adjectives and adverbs.

-Encourage listening and evaluating: retain positive traits and improve what can be better

-Expect and demand higher quality


Solidify security-

-Block chords

-Playing melody with single finger

-Dotted rhythm alterations

-Practice small sections


-Practice from the final measure, then continuing to add previous measure

-Sinking into chords- use moments that relieve tenson

-Be able to start anywhere! Extra work to solidify cadences

-Slow and super slow practice; can you stay concentrated

-Reviewing over a long time.

-After initial learning and polishing let pieces simmer and mature. Revisit.


From big picture to finer details-

-Sectionalizing by key schemes (form)

-Grouping harmony (chord progression)

-Voicing (Texture)

-Knowing the Melody (period structure)

-Feeling the main pulse (Rhythm)

-Blocking and Bunching


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