HEMISPHERE COORDINATION AFFECTS YOUR CHILD AT THE PIANO
have difficulty adding the left hand to their piano playing.
actually see the discomfort flood their faces as they attempt to
get the two sides of their brain to "talk." This is
because the left hand is controlled by the right brain
hemisphere, and the right hand is controlled by the left brain
One of the
telltale signs that a child's hemispheres are not yet fully
separated and coordinated is the inability to do different
things with each hand. What you see is the non-dominant hand
(left) mimicking the dominant one (right.) At the piano,
regardless of whether a child is left or right handed, they are
properly taught to make the right hand the dominant one.
child's game where you pat your head with one hand, and circle
your stomach with the other? That silly game is a perfect
diagnostic tool for children's brain hemispheres.
If they have
difficulty with that game, it's a fair bet that their
hemispheres are only starting to coordinate. Don't rush or
you'll frustrate them. Remember, the hemispheres can be trained
to talk to each other, in fact that's largely what piano lessons
approach is to defer to the comfort of the child to a certain
degree, and refrain from two-handed experimentation until they
grow more. But this approach must be blended with repeated,
gentle attempts to use two hands, for if the child never tries
it there is less chance of them getting the knack of it.
pieces in which the two hands do not play at the same time, and
this is always a good first step. As a matter of fact, the very
first step towards two-handed playing with preschoolers and the
very young is to get them to use TWO index fingers instead of
one, even just banging away the piano to get their brain the
antiphonal exercise it needs.
ruse of two index fingers forces the child to use both sides of
the brain without discomfort, since within each hand one finger
is dominant to a child, and it is always the index finger.
It is the use
of the other fingers that baffles kids at first, largely because
their brains haven't yet straightened out what their fingers are
really doing there at the end of their hands. Piano is the first
place they are asked to be aware of it.
So the best
course is to confine yourself to the strongest fingers if you
want to start learning with both hands.
The thumb is
useful to a child in a subconscious way for everyday tasks, in
the sense of the opposable thumb and forefinger. But conversely,
the thumb is difficult for a child to incorporate into their
"piano hand scheme," for the index finger is dominant
and its dominance is difficult but necessary to replace with
that of the thumb.
observation of children's motor skills leads a piano teacher to
make better choices of action with young students.
to ask children's brains to perform tasks for which they are
The source of
almost all discomfort for children at the piano is the teacher's
disregard for their brain hemisphere development.