YOUR PIANO TEACHING STYLE ON A MOMENT-BY-MOMENT BASIS
mistake a piano teacher can make is to decide the curriculum for
a certain piano lesson in advance, and then be unwillingly to
change from that agenda when the circumstances of the child
Fingering is a
perfect example of a subject that must be broached at the right
time. If you try to force it, the child will likely reject the
experience. Other factors may be age related, bringing up the
question of whether the child is ready for the subject at all.
I always look
closely at the child's face and fingers. If they express
mystification, they are either ill-prepared for that subject or
are simply not ready physically or mentally.
force the experience and let the child experience failure, it is
better to wait and choose a better time, and to prepare the
subject in other ways.
A good piano
teacher is like a net for a high-wire act: you are there to
prevent catastrophic failure.
And the best
results I get are from children with whom I banish the idea of
I make it so easy that the child never experiences a major
failure at the piano. This builds their confidence and interest.
How do I do this? Break things down into smaller bits.
As I see them
begin to veer off to the edge of failure, I pull them back,
having observed what it was that made them fail.
the very youngest kids do not want to use the thumb, at first,
at the piano. It's just their instinct to use the index
finger. But fingering at the piano requires the child to use the
thumb as the dominant member of the basketball team known as the
Thus if a child
shows lack of understanding of the thumb, it is useless for them
to try fingering per se until they get used to using the thumbs.
Make up a fingering game using thumbs for a while and then try
fingering; you will find success and the child will enjoy
organizing their fingers because they have come upon the idea
I have happy
students who are crazy about the piano because we always move at
the child's pace, with just a little push from me towards the
next bit of our curriculum.
to break ideas down to the point where your students never
experience failure, and you will be able to trade the child's
confidence for skill.