Popular Music Lesson

Up On the Housetop

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♫Up on the housetop reindeer paws, out
jumps good old Santa Claus♫
♫Down through the chimney with lots of toys, all for the little ones Christmas joys♫
It's that
time of year again. Time to learn some holiday songs.
Let's learn "Up on the
Housetop." Come to the piano.
So this is in the key of C major.
We know that because there are no sharps and flats in the key signature.
So, most C major pieces
will look like this in your right hand.
You'll be in C position with C D E F and
but if we look at the score
you'll notice that that first note, which is G,
says finger 4.
That's because there are a lot of A's in this piece,
and getting
your pinky from G to A is kind of hard to do.
Pinkies don't like to go back and
forth like that, so what we're going to do
is put everything in sort of a D
position with our thumb
sometimes playing a C down here and sometimes
playing a D up here.
So what I reccomend before getting started is just get
comfortable with these two different positions.
So play C, and then stretch the
hand to get C E with a 2 finger
all the way up to your pinky on A.
And try out those five notes and then
see if you can go back and forth
with this position D E F G A
Something maybe like this:
Good, just play around those notes
until you feel comfortable with that position.
Now let's look at measure one.
with those first 3 beats, look at the rhythm.
It goes TA TIM-KI TA
Now a TIM-KI is not quite like a TI-TI, like eighth notes,
that first note has a dot which
makes it a little bit longer,
and that second note has that extra beam which
makes it shorter.
So instead of TA TI-TI TA,
Let's try that again. Ready go, TA TIM-KI TA
Good, it's really
important to get that rhythm just right.
Now that first note is G, and remember
it's with your 4th finger now,
and we play that twice G G, and then A G and
that's that quick sixteenth note.
Now if that feels like it's
hard to do fast, just relax the hand,
and feel like you're rolling from that 5
finger to your 4th finger
Try that on your own a few times.
5 4
Now let's look at that whole first
phrase in the first two measures.
It starts on G, and we go G G A G, skip down
to E,
and then our thumb has to stretch down to C.
So our first position is
actually this one with our thumb extended down to C.
and then here it comes stretch to there, and then back up to 2 on E and 4 on G.
Now that's our half note so we're going to
hold that for 2 beats.
That second measure goes TA TA TWO-OO, off.
Good, let's practice that
while we say the note names.
So we're starting on G get ready here we go:
Now let's try it while we say those finger numbers, starting on 4.
4 4 5 4 2 1 2 4
Good, now pause the video and practice that on your own a few times until it sounds great and it feels easy.
Then press play when you're ready.
Now let's look at the next two measures.
We're starting on finger 5 this time which is A,
and we have two A's in a row, A A,
and then where does it go?
That's right, it steps down to the G,
and then where does it go?
That's right it skips down to 2 again,
and then it steps down again, but this time our thumb is on D instead of stretching down to C.
So it plays D,
and then way up again to finger 4 on G.
Let's try that slow while we say the note names.
and there's another half note
so we're going to hold that nice and long.
One more time. This time with the finger
5 5 4 2 1 4 4
now practice those two measures on your
own and press play when you're ready.
Great now we're on five the third phrase.
Let me play it for you once and tell me what you notice.
Did you notice that it's almost just like that first phrase we played,
but with one difference.
That's right, right there we play that E an extra time.
It's another TIM-KI
Let's try that spot by itself.
Finger 2 on E,
and a thumb extended again down to C.
So we're going to go: 2 2 1
Let's try
that two more times together, ready go:
2 2 1, again:
E E C Good.
now again make sure the
wrist is feeling really bouncy and flexible
so that those quick notes are
feeling easy.
Good, now let's play this phrase all the
way through starting with your 4th finger on G,
and we'll sing the note names.
G G A G E E E C E G, good.
Now pause the video and practice ...