KIDS DECIDE WHEN TO PLAY PIANO WITH BOTH HANDS
The act of
using two hands at the piano involves an exquisitely complicated
relationship between the two hemispheres of the brain, the left
brain controlling the right hand, and the right brain
controlling the left.
people forget is that children's brains take time to establish
that relationship, and any attempts to force such a relationship
it will be met with resistance, if not outright discomfort.
You can push
gently in the direction of two hands, but most kids, even nine
and ten year-olds, are in varying stages of this hemisphere
If you insist
on it, you may cause the child such discomfort that they will
then associate that discomfort with the piano and eventually
quit. Better to
wait, let them enjoy what they can do easily, develop the
dominant right hand and let nature take its course.
My discovery is
that kids who are allowed to choose when to play with both hands
all eventually decide to play with both hands, and, when they
do, are happy about it and throw themselves into it. Had I
insisted on two hands, it would have been a disaster, given the
degree of enthusiasm they show when allowed to choose for
important to keep probing, offering two-handed situations,
rather than to abandon it completely. Perhaps the child benefits
from these "dry runs," as long as they are allowed to choose
when to stop the "experiment," and return to more
immediately rewarding musical activities.
essential to not brand the child a failure during these
experiments. If they fail, just move on, and be aware that they
are not fully ready. Don't acknowledge any failure, just nod,
smile and move on.
I observed that
most kids were very happy playing with one hand, while
developing various skills like fingering and note reading.
But that happiness vanished when presented with the task
of trying both hands. You can see the discomfort on their faces.
reason, all kids know when they are ready to try both hands,
much like knowing when they want to try diving into the deep end
of the pool, or try their bike without training wheels.
I can't see
inside their brains, but I can observe their reaction to the
demands of bi-hemisphere playing, and any piano teacher who is
not a fool can easily tell when to back off.
I number in the
hundreds the children I have taught who couldn't get the hang
of two hands until they were ready for it.
enough to allow the child to enjoy the piano in their own way
until their brains have developed to the point where they can
easily enjoy it "your" way.
happy you did, if you can wait that long.