Snake Dance

Lesson One, Snake Dance syncopation build-up,
Musicarta Beat and Rhythm workbook.

Learning the Melody

Watch the video of the melody being played. The music is in your workbook, but it’s better if you learn the melody by heart straight away.

Practice suggestions

Watch the teaching video for this lesson.

To play the Snake Dance melody, you put your hand in a ‘D minor position’ – covering keys D to A in the middle of the keyboard. Five fingers, five keys – one key each.

You only use white keys – that’s what makes it a D minor position. (You need F sharp for a major sound.)

To play the Snake Dance tune, you play fingers:

  Line 1:     1 2 3—2—1, 1 2 3 5 2 3 1,

  Line 2:     1 2 3—2—1, 1 2 3 5 2 3 1,

  Line 3:     3 4 5 5 5 5 5 4, 2 3 4 4 4 4 4 3,

  Line 4:     1 2 3—2—1, 1 2 3 5 2 3 1.   

Say-and-play, or, better still, sing-and-play along, several times.

It’s quite legitimate to learn the tune just from the finger numbering if you don’t read music. Even if you do, it’s good practice – you’re saying out loud the scale degrees (notes of the scale) and improving your aural skills.

You notice that lines 1, 2 and 4 of the tune are the same and Line 3 is different.

Practice the two types in turn.

Lines 1, 2, and 4

The hardest part of the first line-type is the 5-2-3-1 section at the end – so practice that bit over and over.

Then put it in the phrase: 1-2-3-5-2-3-1.

Practice repeating any section of that fingering until “it’s all the same to you…”!

Copy the examples from the teaching video. Work out what’s difficult for you and make up little exercises for yourself.

Line 3

Line 3 has the same pattern twice, first from finger 3, then from finger 2.

Memorise the pattern. There are five of the top notes in each half of the line – learners often stop at four, for some reason.

There are two places in Line 3 (and going on) where you skip notes and change direction. They are 5-4-2-3 and 4-3-1-2. Practice them separately then stitch them together, as in the teaching video.

Now go back and say-and-play or sing-and-play the melody until you’re quite sure you know it by heart and believe your fingers will play it correctly next time you want them to.

Check you can play along to the first (plain melody) video.



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Syncopation and Anticipation

Tapping Exercises

Snake Dance
Build-up

Snake Dance Variations

Beat & Rhythm
at MMYT


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