Saturday, February 5, 2011

My First Piano Adventures 3

Many parents ask me how long their beginning student should practice. Putting that question aside for a moment the point must be made that five and six year olds (and many sevens also) really can't be expected to practice independently. They need a practice buddy and the participating grownup is a big part of the picture. When it comes to practicing I prefer calling it "playing the piano". Creative repetition is definitely the key to this age group.
Here are D.'s hands placed on CDE. Finding this location is essential to playing his songs. I ask myself, "How many ways can I creatively get him to go there without my help?" We may find this place in other octaves on the piano or we may race to see who can put their hands there first, whatever, the goal is to help him find CDE, in the middle of the piano on his own. 
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Here is J. playing "Shepard Count Your Sheep". His playing is smooth and connected. He arrived there because this is one of his favorites and he has repeated it many, many times at home and with me. 

During your playing sessions at home, let me recommend getting  in the workbook together.
Here M.is drawing notes which she does with much skill. Not every child has coordination at this age to write notes but attempting to write notes brings focus to what notes look like and how some are different indicating they are held for different lengths.
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Twinkle Little Star is the first song in the book. It is exciting for our students to be able to play that all the way through without help. Here A. is showing off his diligent playing at home this week.
N. loves the CD in the back of the book. They play it in the car. Mom will get tired of it before he does. Every time he hears the CD a pathway will broaden in his brain for knowing the songs. By the time he plays the pieces they will feel like good friends. 
So, did I answer the question? Play the piano with your child every day if you can. Ten minutes may be enough for her, remember ten minutes every day is better than one half hour once a week. Creative repetition is the key!

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