Delana Green

Todays 5 Quick Tips to Help Your Child Learn the Piano

Hello and welcome back to the Green House Music Alaska Blog

There are many questions I get asked in those first few months of lessons. Often I hear from moms or dads who are wondering about their child's hand position at home, or how difficult it is to get them to practice.
 “Are their fingers supposed to look like that 
when they play?”
 “How can I keep them engaged?”

So I would like to share some helpful piano/ keyboard tips with all you parents out
there who have started their kids' online lessons, to help you help your student learn the piano. 

I get it, a new skill is tricky, especially when you are helping your kid learn piano
online. That’s why I am happy to share the following tips and tricks that are easy to
do but monumental in encouraging a healthy relationship with the piano.

Tip Number One

 One finger per piano key or note. Make sure that their fingers are placed one finger per key/note .Sometimes you have to watch them at the beginning, but sooner or later they get the hang of it. I know this can be especially tricky with younger kids and smaller hands, but it is an essential habit to build.

Tip Number Two

Curved c shape “sticky” fingers. The goal is to have nice “c”
shaped fingers and hands that are almost “glued” to the keys. To achieve this you
can tell your child to imagine their fingers as spider legs moving along the piano
keys. The pinky is often the most difficult to train especially in those that are
double jointed. So remember to keep an eye on those pinkies. For physical
training exercises you can have them hold a water bottle or an orange in one
hand in a relaxed but firm grip and then remove the item to allow them to get
used to the feeling of this particular position. This will also help train the brain for
later verbal reminders when the finger positions need to be corrected, and a soft
touch needs to be encouraged. I like to use things like “crab legs”, “round”, or
“pet the bunny”.

Tip Number Three

 Good posture. Now this is one even I struggled with a lot as
a child and it has affected me as an adult. So once we make sure that we have
our curved fingers we need to pay close attention to the posture. We want to
make sure that the wrists are supported with a nice 90° angle forming between
the fingers on the keys and the shoulders. Try to keep the shoulders square and
backs straight in a way that does not form tension. The way I achieve this for
students in class is by telling them to lift the shoulders to their ears, relax, and
breathe out. The bottom of the exhale is usually a good naturally occurring
posture, if their fingers are c shaped and glued to the keys with that 90 degree
angle of wrist to shoulder. (For a visual you can watch the video I created
 “Tips for Piano Parents Part 1”- it’s under tip # 3 starting at 2:04 minutes in )

Tip Number Four

Correct chair and bench height. The optimal height of chair
or bench is when the knees touch the trim of the piano, with legs in an uncrossed
natural hip-width apart position. This means knees should not be flared in or out.
This will also encourage good posture and make it so the student is not sitting
too close or too far. If you’re having difficulty with good posture this may be worth

Tip Number Five

Support the feet with a stool. If legs are dangling or if you must raise the bench so knees can touch the front trim, get a cheap stool or even a cardboard box to allow a solid foundation for the feet to rest on. The feet should be flat and supported.
Sometimes it can be tricky knowing how to help your kids with their musical skill
development and I aim to provide you with all the tools, tips, and even buying guides to
help you both succeed, and encourage you to email me if you ever need help. Well
that’s all my tips for today, but check back soon for more!

Thanks so much for reading, and I hope I’ve provided you with some helpful troubleshooting answers to these 5 common questions I’ve heard from piano parents. Leave a comment below if you have any questions, want to let me know what you think, or what your favorite tip was!

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