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Blowing Mistakes Away with "Bubble" Therapy #1274905
09/25/09 01:17 PM
09/25/09 01:17 PM
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,896
Puyallup, Washington
Betty Patnude Offline OP
4000 Post Club Member
Betty Patnude  Offline OP
4000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,896
Puyallup, Washington
Someone pm'ed me to ask about my posting about "bubbles".

I decided to share my answer to her here with other teachers in case you would like to use it.

If this story reminds you of something unusual that you do, you are invited to share your ideas here about helping students overcome the fear of making mistakes.

The blowing of bubbles is completely “charades” and is done sitting on the piano bench.

Grab an imaginary plastic bottle (Have you seen the kids liquid bubbles bottles with a wand before?) in your left hand, unscrew the cap, pull out the wand, dip it back in the bubbles, I knock it on the inside edge of the bottle to make believe it was dripping too much, and then hold the wand up to your pursed lips, and blow a long breath into the circle of the wand that is holding the liquid ready to be blown. Bloooow!

Then you make believe you are watching the bubble drift away and burst one at a time. This happens fairly quickly until they are all gone. You'll need to display a happy, satisfied smile to complete the charade with a positive ending.

What you are left with is the experience!

Bubbles disappearing are like the mistake that was made in playing the piano.

I say: "When you make a mistake, don't get upset about it! The mistake is like when you blow bubbles, as soon as they appear for you to see, they disappear because they are burst. Mistakes made at the piano are gone as soon as you can no longer hear them. Bubbles are gone as soon as you can no longer see them - about the same length of time.”

So you are encouraging the child to continue again with the music and not to be tense over possibly making a mistake this time.

Most mistakes are inadvertent rather than being caused by misunderstanding or being totally wrong. Our fingers make mistakes mostly because of "digit confusion", uncertainty in the fingers moving. Work to improve those things but not to make a big deal over the "problem.

I am actually trying to minimize how the student is feeling about making mistakes. Teachers know making mistakes are a normal part of beginning piano lessons – but the student doesn’t know that – he thinks he is “stupid” or a “mess-up”. Let’s have none of that!

Sometimes kids can make a correction ("fix”) immediately. Sometimes it's a 2 week process before it gets to a satisfactory place.

Bubbles provide relief to the "ordeal" and cajole the student away from the drama of the mistake. Teach them to let mistakes be noticed but not to affect their equilibrium.

And, doing this "charade" was a lot of fun together!


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Re: Blowing Mistakes Away with "Bubble" Therapy [Re: Betty Patnude] #1274919
09/25/09 01:41 PM
09/25/09 01:41 PM
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 820
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member
Lollipop  Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 820
Here's mine: Every once in awhile, a student makes a mistake, and on a re-try makes the same mistake or worse, and it goes quickly downhill from there, as the student gets a mentality of failure. On these occasions I have some success with "pushing rewind." I make the child stand up, and I spin them around a time or two. They look a bit confused for a moment(but they're used to expecting strange things from me). I tell them that I am rewinding the tape, and erasing it. It seems to break the cycle, and the student can then sit down and start fresh.

So far, my students all seem to know what a tape is! At some point I guess I'll have to tell them I'm writing over the CD. laugh

Part of why I love working with children is the opportunity to be spontaneous and creative.

piano teacher
Re: Blowing Mistakes Away with "Bubble" Therapy [Re: Lollipop] #1275003
09/25/09 04:07 PM
09/25/09 04:07 PM
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,896
Puyallup, Washington
Betty Patnude Offline OP
4000 Post Club Member
Betty Patnude  Offline OP
4000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,896
Puyallup, Washington
I love your idea, Lollipop! I will certainly use the "rewind".

I do a thing like winding them up behind the shoulder blades as though they had a "key" that I could turn. I do this so they will have more energy with which to continue their energy. I make sure they actually feel me turning the "key". It works every time. I say, "Let's get you some more energy!"

And I do very much agree with you when you said: "Part of why I love working with children is the opportunity to be spontaneous and cerative."

I would also add the word "fun!"


Moderated by  Ken Knapp 

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