Today I am posting another well-known Thanksgiving hymn. I put off arranging this for beginners because I was undecided about how to present the dotted quarter note and the best way to write the treble A.
I finally decided to teach the rhythm by rote and use what is called “near middle C position” which is a nice way to say it isn’t in middle C position.
In this case, the right hand is in D minor position. I use this frequently because moving the thumb just slightly gives you “A.” What a difference it is to have one more note! What would Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star be without the treble A? In singing it is a very important note!
If both thumbs are on middle C and there is a treble A in the music, what can you do? Cross the left hand over to play it? Move the pinkie over every time there is an A? Shift the hand? Yes, all of these work and I think the teacher has to decide what is best for her particular students.
But if the song has other challenges, such as the dotted quarter note in this hymn, I think it is easier to write the right hand in D position. If this is a new position, some extra finger numbers and circling the skipping fingers will give them confidence that they can do it.
This might be a good time to mention that it is fairly easy to teach the dotted rhythm by rote. Substitute the words in the first phrase with London Bridge is Falling Down and tap it on the piano cover. Use both hands at first, and then use the correct hands. Change from hands to the correct fingers and play the phrase in the air, then the piano. Because I really want your students to enjoy this Thanksgiving hymn! PS It would be great for you to add some chords while they play an octave higher!