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Teaching hand shape from the start?


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#16 Dorcas

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 08:42

I take some of the things I am told by parents with a pinch of salt.  A six year old is still very young, some will be amenable to learning the correct hand position, but frankly, others will not.  Six year old children are often clumsy and uncoordinated, not particularly good at spelling and often not reacting quite how you would expect,.  Going back to the OP, the parent could be just embarrassed and covering this by blaming the other teacher.  I expect to reinforce things in most lessons with young children, take small steps and review the previous lesson.

 

edit:grammar


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#17 sbhoa

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 17:58

This is not restricted to young children.

Even adults can take a lot of time getting there.


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#18 Gran'piano

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 15:24

Thinking about this problem again this morning, I wondered whether it might help some 'resistant' children to get the basic idea of hand position and use of the individual fingers if they were encouraged to play 'elephants'. Middle finger is the trunk and the other four fingers are the legs. Two elephants could wave to each other with one foot, the elephants could walk forwards, backwards, two feet simultaneously, all separately - various actions.
It won't stop them playing the piano with one finger at home, but it is something they could perhaps do with their mother or siblings without being told it is 'right' or 'wrong' and it might just improve their hand position or finger control. Maybe it's a daft idea but any old port in a storm!
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#19 Dorcas

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 09:37

Gran'piano, I try and get youngsters to tap each finger on their thumb, make the shape of a bird's head and play notes.  The point I have been trying to make is to be wary about blaming the previous teacher for not doing their job properly.  There are so many opportunities for miscommunication, and it is not always down to the teacher.  I like working with students and their families, but unfortunately, even with those who have been with me for a long time, it can be all too easy to misunderstand each other.  Yes, there are examples of poor teaching, but issues with transfer students do not always arise from that.


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#20 Iulia

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 17:41

Well there were a few points of concern - the hand position, her utter lack of even knowing note values existed, never mind not knowing them, and the lack of understanding both her and parents that practice was a requirement.

 

Yes indeed I may not be getting the full story. Though I've personally found if a child isn't practicing the parents kind of have the excuses ready. That's an unusual one lol.

 

I believe she has a lot of friends with the other teacher, so I guess I'll have opportunities to monitor the situation smile.png


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#21 Dorcas

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 09:15

I deleted my post as it came across as bad tempered.  I hope you are joking when you remark that you will be able to monitor the situation?  Unless you are observing a teacher directly, any monitoring will be hearsay, and nothing more than that.  With very young children I would expect to be reinforcing pitch, rhythm and hand shape for a long time to come.  Currently, I am working with one youngster who has taken nearly two years to reduce bouncing and wobbling hands which hit four times as many keys as necessary.


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#22 Iulia

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 10:06

Not a joke as such, but certainly not meant as seriously as you seem to have taken it.

 

Just that I'm sure I'm going to find out over time if it was the teacher, or the kids .......


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#23 Dorcas

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 10:23

Fair enough, lulia! peace2.gif


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#24 BadStrad

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 11:29

Unless you are observing a teacher directly, any monitoring will be hearsay, and nothing more than that.

I took the remark about monitoring as "time will tell." If all (or most) of that teacher's pupils make slow progress and have bad hand position etc, then chances are, it's not the kids...

I think it is good to keep an eye on what other teachers are producing. If you need to recommend another teacher (say if you have no spaces) you'd surely want it to be a good one.
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#25 Gran'piano

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 13:23

With regards to the ‚guilty party‘ I loved the Mum who took her child to kindergarten for the first time and said that she promised not to believe every tale the child came home with about the goings on in kindergarten if the teacher would promise not to believe all the tales of things which happened at home.
 

 

 

I take some of the things I am told by parents with a pinch of salt. 

 

That's exactly what I meant.

 

Thinking about this problem again this morning, I wondered whether it might help some 'resistant' children to get the basic idea of hand position and use of the individual fingers if they were encouraged to play 'elephants'. Middle finger is the trunk and the other four fingers are the legs. Two elephants could wave to each other with one foot, the elephants could walk forwards, backwards, two feet simultaneously, all separately - various actions.
It won't stop them playing the piano with one finger at home, but it is something they could perhaps do with their mother or siblings without being told it is 'right' or 'wrong' and it might just improve their hand position or finger control. Maybe it's a daft idea but any old port in a storm!

 

 

Gran'piano, I try and get youngsters to tap each finger on their thumb, make the shape of a bird's head and play notes. 

This probably works very well as long as the children will/can practice it like that at home too.

With the elephants, I was thinking more of those children mentioned by several other posters where the child has great difficulty with coordination or comprehension, has got into bad habits or for some other reason is making slow progress. I simply cannot imagine a mother who also has other children and other responsibilites being too keen on the idea of using her individual precious prime time with this child '*hacking away' at the child's technique 'tap your finger on your thumb before you play the note', time after time, day after day.  I'm not saying they wouldn't try to do it, but I fear the enthusiasm of both child and parent would wane quite rapidly. Sadly it might end up with the child giving up the idea of music lessons.

For me, any idea to lighten the job and speed up the learning process at this difficult stage is worth trying.

 

The situation where the music teacher thinks the parents should 'help' more, reminds me a little of the school situation here with a neighbour's child.

With her University Degree and relevant diploma the teacher is qualified to teach. She explains a grammatical rule to the class. A child comes home with homework and tells its mother that it doesn't understand the task. Put bluntly, the teacher was unable to do the job of explaining the work clearly enough. And now, suddenly, the mother, who would not be permitted to homeschool the child as she is insufficiently qualified to do so, must do the teacher's job for her? 

 

*this is child's-speak for Mummy doing her best to help.

 

You can all come out guns blazing now.


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#26 Dorcas

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 12:22

Handbags at dawn? goodNight.gif


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#27 Gran'piano

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 13:51

@Dorcas -  Our dawn or yours? we are an hour ahead of you.

 

Seriously, I had been rather hoping that teachers who had had this sort of basic hand position problem with young pupils would come along with unusual ideas which are NOT in the books, but which they have successfully applied in such situations. Sometimes experienced folk have no idea that their 'private' tricks of the trade might help others who are not as far along the teaching road.


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#28 zwhe

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 13:56

 

With regards to the ‚guilty party‘ I loved the Mum who took her child to kindergarten for the first time and said that she promised not to believe every tale the child came home with about the goings on in kindergarten if the teacher would promise not to believe all the tales of things which happened at home.
 

 

 

I take some of the things I am told by parents with a pinch of salt. 

 

That's exactly what I meant.

 

Thinking about this problem again this morning, I wondered whether it might help some 'resistant' children to get the basic idea of hand position and use of the individual fingers if they were encouraged to play 'elephants'. Middle finger is the trunk and the other four fingers are the legs. Two elephants could wave to each other with one foot, the elephants could walk forwards, backwards, two feet simultaneously, all separately - various actions.
It won't stop them playing the piano with one finger at home, but it is something they could perhaps do with their mother or siblings without being told it is 'right' or 'wrong' and it might just improve their hand position or finger control. Maybe it's a daft idea but any old port in a storm!

 

 

Gran'piano, I try and get youngsters to tap each finger on their thumb, make the shape of a bird's head and play notes. 

This probably works very well as long as the children will/can practice it like that at home too.

With the elephants, I was thinking more of those children mentioned by several other posters where the child has great difficulty with coordination or comprehension, has got into bad habits or for some other reason is making slow progress. I simply cannot imagine a mother who also has other children and other responsibilites being too keen on the idea of using her individual precious prime time with this child '*hacking away' at the child's technique 'tap your finger on your thumb before you play the note', time after time, day after day.  I'm not saying they wouldn't try to do it, but I fear the enthusiasm of both child and parent would wane quite rapidly. Sadly it might end up with the child giving up the idea of music lessons.

For me, any idea to lighten the job and speed up the learning process at this difficult stage is worth trying.

 

The situation where the music teacher thinks the parents should 'help' more, reminds me a little of the school situation here with a neighbour's child.

With her University Degree and relevant diploma the teacher is qualified to teach. She explains a grammatical rule to the class. A child comes home with homework and tells its mother that it doesn't understand the task. Put bluntly, the teacher was unable to do the job of explaining the work clearly enough. And now, suddenly, the mother, who would not be permitted to homeschool the child as she is insufficiently qualified to do so, must do the teacher's job for her? 

 

*this is child's-speak for Mummy doing her best to help.

 

You can all come out guns blazing now.

 

I'm not convinced. My children have never given up eating because I made them help wash up! A short time doing something you don't enjoy does not put you off doing something you do enjoy, and there are many ways of making a simple task more interesting.

A teaching diploma qualifies you to teach 30-40 children at the same time - teaching one at once is easy! If they don't understand or get bored, you change what you are doing. You don't need any qualifications in order to homeschool (in this country anyway), and even if you do send your children to school, a child's education is still the responsibility of their parents. I have had to help my children with many tasks over the years, and do not consider explaining things at home to be 'doing the teacher's job'. I want them to do the best they can, and believe it is MY job to support them in that.

With regards to music lessons, I strongly encourage the parents of the little ones to stay for the lesson, and then I explain the tasks to them so they can help at home. I am teaching the parents as much as the children, and there is a large difference in progress between the ones who help and the ones who don't.


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#29 zwhe

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 14:00

@Dorcas -  Our dawn or yours? we are an hour ahead of you.

 

Seriously, I had been rather hoping that teachers who had had this sort of basic hand position problem with young pupils would come along with unusual ideas which are NOT in the books, but which they have successfully applied in such situations. Sometimes experienced folk have no idea that their 'private' tricks of the trade might help others who are not as far along the teaching road.

My first piano adventures is excellent for this. I also have a ladybird toy that watches children's posture and have on one occasion told an older child I was considering putting spikes down the edge of the piano so they have to hold their hands up (not to be tried with a child who might believe you!)


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#30 Latin pianist

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 14:04

I'm afraid I simply keep showing students the picture in Tunes for ten fingers of the hand with the little mouse under it.
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