I’m a lefty. No, I’m not left-handed. But I do sit on the left side of my piano students. Why? Because I’ve always done so. Likely because my piano teacher did so. Likely because her neurotic dog needed to be let out at 5-minute intervals and the door was on that side of her piano. We get into habits for crazy reasons.
Can 5 Feet Make a Difference To Your Piano Students’ Technique?
As you know I’m always looking for ways to change up my teaching, and so I started changing up where I sit and where I stand during a piano lesson. I just wanted to see if it had any sort of impact on my piano students’ playing. For a couple of weeks, I switched sides, stood behind, stood beside and moved away from the piano completely. My students eyed me with nothing less than complete suspicion.
But the interesting thing was that it actually seemed to improve my students’ technique the further away I stood or sat. When I asked one student why her habitually falling wrists suddenly were lifted (as I sat at my new perch about 5 feet away from the piano) she replied: “Because you were watching me.” Hmmm…
This was a great reminder when it comes to getting out of teaching ruts – sometimes all it takes is a simple change to get the results we’ve been hoping for.
I’ve now started varying where I sit during a lesson based on what we are working on. If my student is polishing a performance piece, I’m further away. If we’re learning a new concept I’m right there beside them. I now switch sides of the piano regularly.
So I want to know…where do you stand or sit? What have you observed from your “piano studio positioning”? I’d love to hear in the comment section below: Are you a lefty? A righty? A stander or a roamer? Sound off below.