“Where do my hands go?” Do your students ask you this question? Mine do. It doesn’t matter how well they read notation… many of my beginning piano students always seem to need the security of having me tell them (and tell them again) their starting position.
I use method books that don’t lock students into one hand position for months, and I do this on purpose because I believe in the need for students to be comfortable playing “out of position” early in their lesson experience. This means that my students’ pieces don’t always start in C or Middle C position. And so I get this question often.
This is one of the first topics we cover when beginning a new piece; “What is the starting note in your left hand? What is the starting note in your right hand? How will you remember that? What hand position is this piece in, then? Can you take your hands off the piano and then find that starting position again?” They have all the right answers. And then the next time we open the book to that very same page…
“Where do my hands go?”
It’s like an epidemic.
And so instead of writing huge reminders all over their page that seem to go ignored, I’ve changed my plan of attack and it’s worked wonders.
And so I’m sharing with you a little printable in the hopes that we can also rid your studio of the Where-do-my-hands-go plague.
All you have to do is download this free hand position printable. Then, have it laminated, cut out the cards (one per student), paper-clip one to the top of the your student’s piece, and, using a dry-erase marker, circle the finger on each hand your student needs to use for their starting position. After this, write the note name above each circled finger. You can re-use these for each new piece you begin.
It’s noticeable enough that students will… well… notice! And it’s clear, concise, visual and to the point. I wean them off of this aid as they gain more experience on the piano, but for those first few months of lessons it has completely taken away their need for reassurance from me. Once that dependence is eliminated they begin to become confident enough to look to the page for cues on their own. Until then… these cheerful little cards are eliminating that question from my piano studio for good!
If you’re looking for more great piano teaching tips that will help you build a bigger studio in the new year, then be sure to check out our teacher’s guide, Piano Hands Shouldn’t Flip Burgers.