Given the chance, most kids will opt out of the many hours of piano practice even though they want the fulfillment of being good at playing the piano. The truth is, the same applies to adults, but they have grown-ups have a much better understanding of how life works, so their resistance will be much more under control. Piano technique exercises can particularly be tedious, but fortunately, there are ways to make them fun so that kids respond to them more positively. Here’s a visual to get you started: Rhythm You’ll want to have a couple of rhythm instruments (claves, bongos, and djembe) around. Every week choose one that you can use to play rhythm patterns with your students or child. This should be done away from the piano to make it fun. Parents can be involved with rhythm practice at home. Lots of household items make good percussion instruments. Try taking two plastic bottle caps with some “Sticky Tack” inside. Little fingers can develop fine motor skills by tapping the bottle caps together. Buy a set of rhythm flashcards and tap two to three rhythm patterns each day. Or let them create their own rhythm pattern, record it, and then try writing it. At their next lesson, their piano teacher can listen and give feedback on how accurately they wrote the rhythm. Via TakeLessons Eliminate tension It’s easy to help a young student understand what tension means by using a squish ball or animal. This can be used to practice a relaxed, rounded shape of the hand. When the rubber animal’s face is squeezed, it contorts and when the hand relaxes, the animal face returns to normal. This is a simple way to remind them and train their minds to recognize tension in their muscles. Additionally, here are some ways for children to become aware of tension in other areas of their body: Spine – Student should stand near a wall, letting the back of their head rest on the wall. This will establish the feeling of good posture. Have them return to the bench, facing away from the keys and sit quietly for 10 seconds with this corrected posture. Be sure their feet are resting flat on the floor or on a stool of proper height. It helps to show them 10 seconds on a timer before they begin so they know how short this resting time will be! Shoulders – Student should breathe in deeply and exhale. Did their shoulders drop? Do they feel more relaxed now? Have them pretend their tummy is a balloon and after they inflate the balloon, they let out all of the air. It’s fun to actually blow up a balloon while they breathe in and let it deflate when they exhale. But some children will be more distracted by the balloon and may not focus on the breathing exercise. If time is available, demonstrate with the balloon first and then put it away. Elbows – Student should lay their fingertips on [...]
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