Unit A6 – Articulation

By the end of unit A6, students should be comfortable playing basic staccato and legato notes. They should also:

  • be able to spot staccato dots in their pieces
  • be able to differentiate between the staccato dot and the dot of a dotted minim
  • be able to spot legato slurs in their pieces
  • be able to add dots/slurs to pieces, as they wish.

Students only need to be able to play staccato OR legato notes. But they should be able to play a piece that includes both staccato notes AND legato notes separately.


Activities

  • Explore staccato and legato sounds at the piano. Discuss how these sounds are made. Link the sounds to characteristics of different things (e.g. animals, weather, moods, dance or other sports, nature).
  • For staccato sounds ask students to imagine the keys are hot (so they bounce off).
  • A traditional method for developing staccato at the piano is to get students to imagine they are bouncing a ball, or knocking on a door, and then transfer that wrist movement to the piano.
  • For legato sounds ask students to imagine joined up writing (this works well with young students who have recently learned to write in joined up handwriting).
  • If a student is struggling with legato sounds try getting them to exaggerate the overlap between notes. This will help them connect the feeling of the sustained sound with the motion. Gradually get them to reduce the amount of overlap until they get a good legato sound.

Worksheets

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Stage A The Stave and Symbols Quiz
This worksheet tests theoretical knowledge of the stave, bars, bar lines, time signatures, and concepts learned in Stage A: crotchets, minims, dotted minims, semibreves, crotchet rests, staccato, legato, piano, and forte.