Jessica and Sasha are siblings aged 7 and 5 respectively. I encourage them to make up tunes.
“Don’t be scared,” I say. “It’s good to create.”
So last week Jessica hits me with: “Can we make a song together?”
“…because I wrote one! Here it is! Can you do the music?”
I thought a duet would be cool. Now was the time to try out this delicious music notation software MuseScore which I had downloaded recently. Those guys are so wonderful for creating this and you know what? It’s free for all of us! LOVE MuseScore!
So I wrote the “Primo” part for Jessica, to play with two hands, mostly in the G position. Jessica is working off an early Progressive book, is reading notes off the stave, knows the C and G positions, and can play quickly and very musically.
Jessica is credited as the lyricist. For the main melody, it was easy to enter the lyrics: as I typed, MuseScore tabbed each word (or hyphenated word) to line up with the next note! Fab!
So the “Secondo” part is for Sasha. She is on Bastien Primer, is reading music using fingering and pictured hand positions, playing the black notes and very recently the white notes. She knows Quarter, Half and Whole Notes. (I have stopped talking about crotchets etc., since the books I come across use American terminology.) I drew pictures which she will be familiar with, colouring the relevant notes yellow and writing the finger positions.
I wanted Sasha to have something melodic and as challenging as her older sister. I wrote the first half of Sasha’s melody for her Right Hand (RH) and the second half for her Left Hand (LH). Her hands are small and she’s just learning to control her left hand fingers 4 and 5. They need more strength! So from Bar 9 she plays a simple accompaniment.
I wanted the same lyrics in Sasha’s part, since that would really help her keep in time with her sister. But writing them into her sheet was difficult since the second half of her melody has only one note per bar. Each word kept tabbing over to the next note (in the next bar). It was fiddly but I managed it. MuseScore probably has great instructions how to do this properly. One day I’ll get round to reading the offline manual.
I presented the duet today and there was pandemonium! Both girls wanted to play at once and I thought: Aw no! What have I started? But their mum was as keen as they were and the lesson was a riot!
Let’s see how they get on! Maybe a video later…