Students are introduced to the sustain pedal in Stage B. To successfully complete this unit they should be able to:
- find the sustain pedal
- know what the sustain pedal does (in basic terms, they don’t need to fully understand the mechanics)
- play pieces that make use of the sustain pedal by holding it down for the entire piece (so they can understand the effect it has on the sound but do not need to control it yet).
- Play a piece of music or a tune to the student twice, once with the pedal and once without. Ask the student to describe the difference.
- Encourage listening skills to develop by asking the student to spot the difference between two repetitions of the same phrase. Play one with the pedal and one without. You can use this with other elements too, for example: dynamics, legato and staccato etc.
- Explore the sounds the pedals can make with the student. Can they connect the sound to an image (e.g. an animal, the weather, a location like the beach or the forest).
- Get the student to look inside the piano and see what happens when you put the pedal(s) down. This is a further opportunity to discuss how the piano works.
- Ask students to compose their own pieces that use the pedal.