My newest piece All Together is a piano trio for mid to late elementary level students. The idea was to use a C scale up and down – no crazy accidentals and just have students focus on their own rhythm. So many different rhythms combine but mostly, everyone is on the same note at the same time!

Today I wanted to share one idea for teaching this piece which is to teach it by rote! If you haven’t heard of rote teaching before, check out this article on the benefits of rote teaching from the authors of the Piano Safari method. We spend so much time teaching students how to read that sometimes it’s great to take a break. I love how rote teaching allows me to help students learn pieces beyond their current reading level. And for some, just the sound and feel of a harder piece with fuller textures helps motivate them to keep going.

So if you’re looking at teaching this piece with rote teaching, here’s how I would try it. Let’s look at the score for Part 3 here.

So to teach the first 9 measures, our student would begin on Low C. Now these measures are straight quarter notes. Nothing too hard, but I’d start with saying the note names as we learn this part.

“C, C, C, C
D, D, D, D
E, E, E, E
F, F, F, F
G, G, G, G
A, A, A, A,
B, B, B, B
C, C, C (stop pattern)”

Easy peasy so far right? Now onto the next section. Here there’s a rhythmic pattern that repeats every 2 measures so we’ll tap the rhythm first. I wish I could record it for you to hear me teaching it here but imagine the ti-ti’s and ta’s. The 8th note pick up for m.10 through to m.11 seems to work best for my students when we use note names with the rhythm again.

“C, C, C C, C, C,
D, D, D, D- D-…” and so on.

Hopefully you understood my note name rhythm talking here and got an idea for teaching this piece to your students. Since you’re not worried about fingering, it’s really just a fun piece to work on rhythm and then keeping focus on your own part when played together. Good luck! I’d love to hear your recordings 😉