I have been using your tips for a few weeks and they are working! Thank you very much. BUT WAIT! I have one question. I was wondering if you knew of any fun ways to teach young students how to shift hand position on the piano. For example, from a first finger on C to a first finger on G. It would be great if you knew of a way to cement this aspect of piano for a student in an innovative, creative, fun way (rather than demanding lots of monotonous practice etc etc). PLEASE HELP!
One of the struggles of a beginning piano student is the “Where do my hands go to start?” question. And even once they’ve got the starting position down… throw a mid-piece leap to a new note into the mix and you can end up with a confused and frustrated student as they try to complete their at-home practice.
Whoooo Needs This Game?
Some piano method books hang out in predictable hand positions for a long time; your piano kids need only to know if they’re in “Middle C Position” or “C Position” and they’re set (at least for the time being). However, hand some of these students a piece of supplementary music that requires the placement of their first finger to be on a note other than C, and they’re completely befuddled.
Other method books set out to wean piano students of this dependency on C positions and have them moving their hands right from the start… but this can lead to some beginning piano students not feeling consistently confident in knowing where to start for each of their pieces; that finger to key connection isn’t quite strong enough as they just haven’t (yet) had enough repetition.
Learning Through Play Is Often the Way!
Here’s a fun game you can play with your students to get them used to moving all over the piano, and to be able to easily and accurately match a given finger number to a given key on the piano.
Have a Hoot! A Printable Piano Teaching Game
How to play:
Your student rolls the die. The number that shows face-up is the finger number your student will use to play the key written on the game board under their marker. All students start on “C” at the starting circle. They roll the die, play C with the finger number that was rolled and, if they play it correctly, they move forward one space.
For example, if your student’s marker is on the letter “G”, and they roll a 3, they play a “G” with their 3rd finger. If they were correct, they move forward to the next circle and do the same. You can choose to alternate between right hand and left hand or you can play a full right hand or left hand game. The game continues until they reach the finish.
Rolling a 6 is a called a “Hoot!” They get to move forward two spaces without completing any tasks. It’s a “freebie”.
If your piano student lands on an owl they must complete one of the 4 “Owl Cards”. If they complete the card correctly by getting it ‘owlright’ they move forward 2 spaces. If they make a mistake they move back 2 spaces.
This is a fun way to drill the ability to match finger number to key for your young beginning students. This is a one-player game with the reward being simply the finish line. You can decide to add a treat or not once the finish line is reached. My kids usually just eat their marker as I use a Smartie :) So go ahead… have a hoot!