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09 July 2023

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In the Groove - Mike Cornick - Grade 5 ABRSM Piano 2023-2024 C1 Teaching Notes

In the Groove: "20 Piano Studies"
Mike Cornick

Teaching Notes
The first instruction that the composer gives us is "Medium tempo swing", in other words the duplets should be executed with a two thirds / one third rhythm and also not too fast. The mood needs to be quite laid back.

Articulation is key to getting a good mark in the examination. The last note of any slurred group should be lifted and staccati should be carefully observed. Accents, which invariably fall off the beat will also contribute to the jazzy style. 

In bar 1, the slur in the LH will have to be somewhat "faked" as the top of the chord uses a thumb for both chords, but a progression of 2nd finger to 3rd finger with a legato touch along with the tied bass should give the impression of a slur.

In bar 4, watch the RH crotchet rest. The tied E should release exactly above the LH "A". 

In bar 6, don't be too heavy with the moving part at the top of the LH as the progression from A to G is only accompanimental, not melodic in nature.

In bar 7, the slur between the two chords can be made smoother with the use of a dab of pedal, being careful to release exactly on the second staccato chord. This can also be used in bar 16b.

In bar 8, note the different articulations of the two chords, the first being short (and accented) and the second being sustained (and softer). A similar effect is found in bar 12, but here both chords have accents even though the first is a heavier version.

Dynamics are sparse in this piece so be sure to make the most of the crescendo in bars 13 and 14, as well as the contrast notated on the last line. For examination purposes the repeat should be omitted.

In bars 15b and 17, notice that only the second quaver chord on the third beat is marked staccato, so try to make the first one a little stronger.

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