Teaching Feminine Endings

I recommend that you first read the student file on this topic. I teach this concept exactly as I describe it in that file. You may find this technique helpful in your studio.

No matter what method you adopt, you will want to illustrate with a four-measure phrase from a Mozart minuet what a feminine ending is; and then play it where you give the note unwanted emphasis. This will be ludicrous-sounding, and your student will hear it immediately.

Point out alternate notations ( > and f p), too. Be sure to speak also about times when composers want to negate the normal feminine ending (usually notated with sfz on the unstressed note).

From this point onward, have the student look for and mark feminine endings in all music. This should be done early in the note-learning process so the hand "learns," as well.

Later you can point out that second "halves" of beats are miniature feminine endings.

Stay on top of this concept with your student, and there will be a remarkable improvement in the playing (artistry).

copyright 1998, Martha Beth Lewis, Ph.D.
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