THOSE LITTLE FINGERSINTERESTED DIRECTORS
When speaking to pre-school directors, most who are interested will start asking you questions about what exactly you are going to do, how you teach young children, what kind of activities are you planning to do, etc. For that reason I am tending to write about types of activities and the way I teach so you have enough information to make your own choices about the type of program you want to market.
It is amazing what directors comment about. One told me I obviously made my curriculum for children because there was no writing in my books (back when I published my materials). She went on to say others who showed her what they intended to do had books with all types of written instructions in them which does nothing but confuse the children and take up needless space. She felt instructions for a teacher should be separate and suggestions to parents should be in a Newsletter format. Fortunately most pre-schools send a Newsletter to parents once a month and will let you have a portion of that Newsletter.
On another occasion I had to take over for one of my instructors for awhile and actually teach the lessons in the foyer of the pre-school because there had been some safety issues for the children. So, I was right outside her office with a table, keyboard and four children at a time. As I was leaving one day, she commented that I must have crawled into the brain of a three year old because she felt the materials and lessons were so appropriate. This is what you want. This director was in a corporate pre-school so she really spread the word about my program to other directors not only in the corporate schools, but others as well, because she felt children should have the opportunity to learn to play the piano for all the brain development, confidence, focus, etc. that happened on account of it.
If you have watched one of my videos you will notice I try to teach from a Christian perspective. The app is totally secular. If a school or anyone has a problem with the fact that I mention things like "God gave you marvelous hands!" on the video, then you will just have to do the activities yourself and not use the videos.
If you ask a three year old if he/she wants to take piano lessons, the answer will most likely be "No, I am too young." If you ask if they would like you to show them how to play a favorite song they know, the answer will most likely be "YES!" So, one of the first things that needs to be done is to give the children confidence.
Again, if you have watched the first video I had those two little boys pick up a crayon, then told them if their hands could learn to do that, then those hands could learn to play songs on the piano. The looks on their faces were like "Wow...Really?...Wow!" They have probably only said once or twice since that first day that something was "too hard" for them. So, one has to get into the habit of constantly giving them the confidence they need to continue.
One way to instill confidence is to truly compliment the child(ren) for something well done - even if it is sitting straight in the chair. Once a little four year old raised her index finger and said after I had complimented her, "But...." Yes, I always followed with something that could be improved. "Do you think that 2 finger could give finger 3 some lessons about keeping a bit more curved???"
COLOR CODINGAs Dr. Montessori stated so many times in her books, it is up to the teacher to find a way to instruct a child in a way the child can understand.
I add the left hand very soon...feel both hands should be equally trained from the beginning. Three year olds tend to know their numbers to a point, so that is not an issue. However, since the fingering of the hands goes in opposite directions I added color coding of the fingers that is in parallel. My colors are also one syllable so they can be used for rhythm as well. After I did a national program with a piano company in the late 80's many curricula came out with color coded piano keys. I was surprised they thought I was color coding the keys, but most of the beginning songs only used C through G, so it did look like the keys were coded, not the fingers.
Once the color coding is well learned, I add the right hand finger numbers...right hand blue 1, right hand red 2, etc. The term "right hand" is always used since the left hand numbers and colors will be different. All these color coding activities can be done with entire classes. Young three year olds like to use sticker dots. By age four, the children prefer to color. In fact when I have them color code all the fingers they almost always ask if they can finish coloring the hand!
I always started with only pink and blue - the colors for Tick Tock. However the little boys in the videos almost immediately knew all the colors for the right hand since they were using the app and watched Busy Buzzy Bumblebee color code that right hand every time they used the app. When we color coded the right hand sheet for Hot Cross Buns, they both started with the green tall middle finger....again, they had been watching the "SHOW ME" part of the app so knew the first finger used for Hot Cross Buns was the green finger.
My first video introduces the right hand pink and blue fingers for the Tick Tock song. Here is the link for the video Playlist on youtube. Just click here.
I also wrote a BLOG about finger colors awhile back if you would like to take a look. Why Finger Colors?
Anybody Can Play PIANO APPTo subscribe to the Anybody Can Play PIANO app in Windows 10 click here. First week is free - $1.99/mo to continue.
EZPianoNotesEZ Piano Notes features Busy Buzzy Bumblebee for enhancing the learning of notes. To subscribe click here. First week free - then $1.99 total cost.