CPTP110: Why Every Student Should Know Happy Birthday with Lucinda Mackworth-Young

By Tim Topham | Creativity

Oct 27

Lucinda was trained in a traditional classical system, but when she realised that she couldn’t even play Happy Birthday at a party (without sheet music) she felt a little cheated. Why couldn’t she do something so simple after all these years of study?

She wished that someone who had these playing by ear skills would write down the formula, so that we could all learn to do it.

Lucinda Mackworth Young

As Lucinda began to teach students herself she gradually developed this step-by-step process and eventually put it all together in her book: Piano by Ear.

Lucinda has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to teaching aural skills – and how to play Happy Birthday – in a way that’s digestible for students. She makes playing by ear accessible to even the most by-the-book teacher.

I’m so excited to share this interview with you today, I know you’re going to take away a lot of great tips and ideas.

Transcript

If you’d like to download a PDF transcript of this episode, please click below.

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In this episode, you’ll learn

  • What sparked Lucinda’s interest in playing by ear
  • Why we got out of the habit of teaching ear training
  • What most people want from piano lessons
  • The balance between reading, ear and improvising
  • How to encourage more singing in your studio
  • Why you should sing the chord numbers as you play
  • How Lucinda teaches Happy Birthday with chords
  • How Lucinda approaches modes

Links Mentioned

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  • Piano duet mode

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Can your students play Happy Birthday?

What about Lucinda’s approach to this was most interesting to you? Do you teach them these kind of well-known songs by ear?

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About the Author

Best-known for his blogging and teaching, Tim is also a well-respected presenter, performer and accompanist based in Melbourne, Australia. You can check him out on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

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