Students who struggle with remembering hand positions
Found in: Playing-Based Methodology
Gabrielle K., Iowa
Some of my students struggle with hand positions (remembering where to put their hands) and others have no problem with it. I’m usually pretty good at self-diagnosis but not this time. What is this?
Joy O., Alabama
For many of my students, the ones who practice consistently have less trouble with where to put their hands to start a piece. The ones who let two or three days go between practice days are also the ones who don’t remember where to put their hands. This may or may not be the case for your students who are having trouble. As you do playlist review, include the starting position as part of the review.
Leeanne I., Australia
Most of my students struggle with this too. It’s about developing a strategy to remember where to put your hands. E.g. for Chester Chills Out, I use ‘Chester has a deep voice, so we play our hands lower on the piano’. I also remind students that it’s the most important part of the song, knowing where to start.
Kerry V., Australia
I’ve seen a few possible reasons.
1. As mentioned, not practicing enough.
2. They are not using the video well enough to ‘see’ what they need to see.
3. Some people really do have peripheral issues. There are millions of black and white keys. I’ll just need to find that C key! and then they get so used to the ‘sound’ that they can feel it is the right place.
4. They may be sitting more over to one side of the keyboard rather than in the center of the keyboard, so seating position may need to be reviewed.
5. Adults more so with this is their ‘stories’ of it being too hard or they can’t do it, they are dumb, whatever, so this plays a huge part in their wanting to, versus their ability to play and learn something new. A myriad of stories to finally get to the learning. That is a tough space to be in. So then they’ll create a new story that they can’t find the place.
Joan H., Canada
I aim to have students name the hand position, when they are playing something (not always, but especially if I sense it’s not strong). Whether learning it or reviewing it, the power of voicing and saying it out loud! And I encourage them to do that at home. Also, when we record all our songs at the end of a Foundation, before they start I have them just go through the hand position of each one (without playing anything) just to give them confidence that they know where they are going when they play through all the songs one after the other.
Laurie Richards, Nebraska
It’s always good to enlist the students in coming up with ideas. For example, for Night Storm, a student once said “I just thinkg ‘middle of the night’ and then I remember finger 3 goes on C instead of finger 1”.
In general, I look for clues in the name of the song for starting position so there is a connection. Fur E-lise (emphasis on the E) starts on E. Also, some don’t think to look at the Reference Book for position clues or memory joggers once they know the song.
Rochelle G., California
If students practice at home on a keyboard with less than 88 keys, it can throw them off when they play a regular piano.