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#951078 - 04/14/05 12:42 PM Hand "positions"
prbell Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/14/05
Posts: 17
Loc: Washougal, Washington
I am a new teacher...I teach beginning students in a studio and am thoroughly enjoing my new venture. I have encountered a problem which I'm sure is old hat to many of you. I have a 7 yr old girl recently assigned to me. She came from a "group learning method" but the mother felt she needed one-on-one teaching. We were doing well for about a month but this week hit a snag. One measure of music started on a note which was not in a hand position she wasn't used to. She was totally frustrated ..."but what hand position is it in?" How does a teacher get a student out of that mindset? I feel the need to go back to some basics...how to read the notes on a staff in relation to where the notes are found on the keyboard, etc. Any suggestions?

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#951079 - 04/14/05 12:51 PM Re: Hand "positions"
princessclara2005 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/05
Posts: 429
Loc: Dallas, Texas
Hand position is a bad approach to begin with, Aflred method use that languate a lot, which is fine for like 2 levels, then it turns out to be really bad.

I think rather than calling it positions, you can re-phrase them as 5-note scales, and point out that music is written more than just with 5 notes, so as she advances, she is leaving just the 5 notes that she is playing.

On the side, working on note reading and matching the notes on staff to the piano is the way to go, flash cards with piano pictures showing where the notes are on the keys will be good.

Since she may have got so used to just playing 5 notes in a comfortable distance without stretching, you will need to be very patient, and also explain in advance that note learning is a long process, she is not going to be perfect, and you are not expect her to be perfect in weeks, months, let her know it can be years, that way if she is slow in catching on, she won't feel too bad.

Good luck to you and her.

#951080 - 04/14/05 01:55 PM Re: Hand "positions"
prbell Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/14/05
Posts: 17
Loc: Washougal, Washington
Thank you Dallas! Yes, she came with Alfred books in hand. I plan on working on basic note reading, flash cards, etc to remedy the situation.
And yes....patience is a virtue!

#951081 - 04/14/05 02:05 PM Re: Hand "positions"
princessclara2005 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/05
Posts: 429
Loc: Dallas, Texas
glad to help....

#951082 - 04/15/05 08:31 AM Re: Hand "positions"
cranky woman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 282
Loc: Phoenix, AZ

You may also want to use supplemental music to force her to read out of a five finger position. Jon George, Melody Bober, Robert Vandall, Dennis Alexander all have good supplemental books and sheet music that utilize more of the keyboard.

You might also teach her how to transpose her 5 finger pieces in every key....it's easy to do if done in like groups:

CFG are "snowmen" because the 1 chords are all white

DAE - are "hamburgers" (white-black-white)

Dflat, A flat, E flat - are "ice cream sandwiches" (black-white-black)

B, B flat, F sharp - are "oddballs" as they are all different.

Good luck!

#951083 - 04/15/05 11:15 AM Re: Hand "positions"
prbell Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/14/05
Posts: 17
Loc: Washougal, Washington
Thank you both for some excellent advice. It reinforced what I was thinking. I'll also check into the supplemental material.


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