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Progress of Lily, Owen, & TmT

22 Jun 2013 12:11 #11128 by andreasro
She's a cutie! :cheer: Congratulations!

My oldest has learnt and practiced freely for many months. He was reluctant at doing finger exercises. For few days he has started to like practicing with mom, especially if she gives him a candy for cooperating (candies are very rare in the house... :lol: )

My way of teaching him, knowing about what Hellene wrote in the forum, has been like this:
- first I let him play a song, each hand, as it's easier for him, no matter what fingers he chooses.
- After a while, as he has a wonderful memory and can play the song without computer just after few trials, I start teaching him the fingering. It's always easier to start showing him left hand fingers' position.

I combine few things:
- I play the song myself and practice many times while he's watching,
- we watch the teaching video together (I slow it down till we find a good speed to learn from and I leave the normal speed after we get familiar with fingering)
- let him play and I guide his finger position and he memorizes the position if I correct it often in the same day and days in a row.

What I have seen, from the Introductory Songs , is that he's applying finger positions according to what his muscles memorized while practicing those.

This is my approach based on how I understood it from Hellene's suggestions and book and on how my son reactions and learning style.
What I didn't know and have started to understand is that children have potential and we should try from time to time to see if they are open to a new step or to a challenge. If my son is cooperating and likes what I'm teaching him, I continue. If not, we're doing something else and we'll come back to it another time. Still, no time is wasted. There's always something you can do and practice to progress.


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23 Jun 2013 16:28 #11140 by TeachingMyToddlers
So Hellene, what songs would be a good place to start based on those videos? just master all of the nursery songs first?

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23 Jun 2013 21:40 #11145 by hellene
Dear TmT, sorry for being a little late with my response to you. We have Sonya and Phillip as our guests in Houston and I enjoy their company very much, teaching Phillip to play Hanon and 'French Song' :)

Yes, your teacher as well as most of piano teachers have different view on the fingers issue. Without Soft Mozart teaching goes on 'blind mode', when children look at keys and notes without seeing them, because they look similar and there are many of them. How do blind people learn? With the power of touch or muscle memory. They have to count, how many steps between sofa and a bedroom door to get there. This is why using correct fingers is extremely important.

All the music schools using muscle memory as a primer source of successful learning. 'Method books' is a way to keep children on artificial piano pieces that fasten each finger for a key - therefore they will learn something and parents will keep paying.

With Soft Mozart children see, what they play and they don't depend on muscle memory. Vision involvement help them to correct fingering on the way of reading music. No bad habits ever was developed - so we shouldn't worry about what fingers Lily uses at the beginning of learning a song.

I watched the videos and this is what I think:
1. In future, if she plays on grand piano, please, place step stool under her feet. Bouncing legs are not good idea for playing piano (TV journalists love to show that because it is cute, but posture should be stable)
2. Sitting at the piano. Lily is a small child. We have to create a sit for her, when her elbows are above the piano keys - not below them.

Lily. She has excellent mind, ear and her fingers independent, strong and she plays in good speed. She has a great foundation for progressing to play piano and read music. This is what I suggest for her to learn:

1. Exercises. She has to start with them every day:
Here is the stages of learning:
a. Play with 1 hand at a time
b. Play with both hands
c. Play with metronome
d. Increase the speed of metronome gradually

2. Piano pieces for technique development:
Boogie 1 - Robot Rock, Cat Boogie
Favorite Classics 1 - Radetsky March, Barcarolla
Nursery Songs 1 - Hickory Dickory Dock, Old Mac Donald, Old Woman in a Shoe.
My first piano pieces - any

3. Genuine Piano pieces that are not within 'method books' scope: any song from Simona's library 1 and 2

4. Album for reading: Nursery Primer. Ask her to play all the pieces on 2, 4, 5 and 6 (with no pictures). I suggest do not rush into playing on 4,5 and 6, because 2 is helping to build strong visual connection between lines and spaces and piano keys.
Set a goal for her to make no more then 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 mistakes.

Let me know, how it goes!

I am going to be available on Skype free consultations soon.

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24 Jun 2013 18:49 #11162 by TeachingMyToddlers
I copied this all into my (recently started) piano notebook for easy daily reference. I will download the video exercise tutorials later today.

Re: sitting/posture - At home, we use a booster seat at the piano when possible. I took it off over the last month or two because we've been in the process of selling/showing our house, but I will put that back on today. And I agree on the feet needing to be stable, I need to find a suitable stool for her feet.

I hope you all had a nice visit. I'll start using these suggestions and let you know how it goes.

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18 Dec 2013 05:06 #12531 by hellene
Dear TmT, How are you? I didn't hear from you for a long time. We have some news that may be interesting for you. Please, let me know, what do you think: www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=60822848...98340&type=1&theater

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