(A Preview from “The Kinesthetic Keyboard”)
Originally posted July, 2005
To open the PDF, click here: Piano – Gavotte Antique
Here’s an example of a piano piece that’s useful for a range of levels.
Henriques’ “Gavotte Antique” is a nice study in consistent phrasing, with a canon at the end. I used it just today teaching a workshop at the Kennedy Center.
Here are some ideas.
For young children: Focusing on the A Major section, teach them to step the beat, stopping still on the rests between phrases. (You might begin by elongating the rests, before playing them as written.) Then have them change directions for each new phrase. To create longer phrases, they might imagine going up a hill for two measures (perhaps reaching up to pick an apple during the first rest) and then down the hill, continuing the same line of direction, for the next two measures.
For older children: Add a clap on the rest at the end of each phrase, changing direction. Have them meet up with another student (or several) after each phrase, and tap each other’s hands during the rest (Iike a “high five”). Explore body shapes, and have the students change to a new shape where the clap occurred, walking in the shape through the next phrase, and then changing again on the next rest. As above, combine short phrases to create a longer line.
For more advanced students: Focus on the “question/answer” format of the phrases using partners. You might begin by having them move away from each other on the first phrase, then find each other and meet in a new place during the second phrase. They can also take turns moving: the first person travels away with improvised movement on the first phrase, the second person copies or otherwise “answers” the leader, catching up to them spatially. (Then switch roles.)
During the A Minor section, we find a canon. One partner might improvise movement for the right hand’s voice with the other following in imitation, or you might provide a short period of time for pairs or small groups to create a unison choreography to the phrase before splitting it into the canon. Following relevant Eurhythmics experiences, the whole piece makes a nice basis for students’ choreographic study (a la plastique animee Jaques-Dalcroze).