Articulation Anaemia

Missing articulation can really dampen a student’s performance. Legato, staccato, and accents are all a big part of how we tell the story of a piece.

Articulation Anaemia: Vocalise

Vocalising gives your student a new way to feel the articulation, using her in-built instrument – her voice. Articulation is way more fun when you get to bring it to life in this way.


  • Play the piece for your student and come up with syllables together that could represent the sounds and write them on the page. For example:
    • Staccato notes could be tat or dak
    • Two note slurs might be yah-dah or la-di
  • Play the piece again and ask your student to be your vocalist. Join in too if she’s shy.
  • Switch places and ask her to play while you both vocalise the articulation.
  • Assign practice using these vocalisation, and ask your student to come up with another, alternative set of syllables to use. She can write these on the score in a different colour to make it clearer.

Articulation Anaemia: Conduct It!

Using gross motor skills can give your student a new way to think about articulation. Get them off that bench and moving to the expressive legato and staccato notes.


  • Demonstrate your student’s piece or listen to a recording together.
  • Discuss the articulation and how they help tell the story.
  • Ask your student how she would show the performer what kind of articulation to play if she were a conductor.
  • Play the piece and ask your student to be your conductor while you play.
  • Try this with other pieces too if you want to work with articulation further.
  • Assign practice conducting her piece, and imagining herself as the conductor while she plays.