December 2013
Teachers' Guide


December Student Page
Past Issues
Past Teacher's Guides

100-Day Challenge:
We continue to receive 100-day practice challenge sheets from students. We have also heard from a number of teachers that this has really increased practicing and enthusiasm in their studios. One teacher commented: "The challenge has been the greatest motivator to practice in my entire teaching career of over 40 years."

We will continue this challenge in the upcoming year, and students may start at any time. Check out the students who have played for 100 days at

Have students listen to the music by Beethoven and describe how music from his early, middle and late periods differ. They can also go back and listen to Classical works from the last two months.

Motifs - Ask students to listen for the repeated rhythm in Beethoven's Symphony No. 5, first movement. These are probably the most famous 4 notes in all of classical music. During World War II the BBC used it to open broadcasts - because the three short and one long note rhythm matched the Morse code pattern for V (Victory).

From the BBC website:

V for victory

The British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s famous two-fingered V for Victory sign began life at the BBC.

A Belgian programme organiser called Victor de Lavelaye saw the letter V as a unifying symbol for both the French and Flemish speakers in his German-occupied homeland. V stood for Victoire (victory) in French and Vrijheid (freedom) in Flemish.

In a BBC broadcast on January 14th 1941, he encouraged his compatriots to show their defiance to the Germans by painting Vs wherever they could.

The campaign spread to other BBC European services that broadcast to occupied areas and got its own “sound” as well. The letter V in Morse code is three dots and a dash – da-da-da DAHH – the opening notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

These were played on the timpani to provide the station identification for all the services to Europe. When Winston Churchill joined the campaign, he called the V sign “the symbol of the unconquerable will of the people of the occupied territories.”

Besides the advanced Sonatas for Piano Beethoven wrote several smaller pieces that early intermediate students can master.  These include Sonatina in G major, Sonatina in F major, Ecossaise in G major, Ecoissase in E flat major, Country Dances, Geran Dances, and Bagatelles, Op. 119.

Recommended collections of easier music of Beethoven (early intermediate to intermediate level)
Dances of Beethoven: 19 Short Pieces to Play Before His Sonatinas (Alfred)
At the Piano with Beethoven (Alfred)
Beethoven - First Book for Pianists (Book & CD) (Alfred Masterwork Edition)
Beethoven: Introduction to His Piano Works (Alfred Masterwork Edition)
Beethoven -- 16 Easiest Selections (Alfred Masterwork Edition)

Music Corner - Encourage your students to experiment with composition. They can send their pieces to us at Music Corner, Piano Explorer, 200 Northfield Road, Northfield, Illinois 60093.

Answers to December Puzzles
Puzzles (page 11)
First letters of each word - MOTIF

Word Search
words: Beethoven, Bonn, piano, sonata, symphony, Romantic, Haydn Vienna, motif

Quiz (page 15) 1. b 2. a 3. c 4. b 5. a 6. a


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