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QUARTERS: A PIANO GAME KIDS LOVE TO PLAY

What are some practical games a piano teacher can use? That's a frequent question that piano teachers and parents write me and ask about.

I'd like to discuss a time-worn classic piano game that I have updated.

Games are an indispensable resource of the inventive, patient piano teacher. The reasons are several. Children's psychology demands that you adopt a light-hearted approach to learning, in order to gain their trust and interest. Attention spans are short, and the teacher must know when to let the student rest and then later seize the right moment for learning.

Another reason for piano games is pacing. Piano lessons can grow tedious quickly while difficult parts are refined and repeated. A wise teacher will try his student's patience with care and as little as possible, and after doing so will reward them with playful learning.

QUARTERS

Quarters is derived from an old piano teacher's trick, wherein a student must play with a coin balanced on the back of their hand to teach the hand to lay flat. This may sound difficult, but it's not, and in fact kids find it fascinating.

The truth is that I have kids who could care less about 'hand position' and resist all patient, erudite attempts to explain and demonstrate it to them: they are simply not interested.

But put a quarter on the back of the same child's hand and say, "Play Jingle Bells that way, bub," and you have a child primed for an unusual, witty experiment in dexterity. 

Yes, the quarter will drop on the floor. Yes, it will roll under the piano. Have several ready. Just laugh and continue. It's worth 75 cents.

If it's all right with the parents, give them the quarter for particularly good work. This game has led to indifferent kids showing me how they can play with all sorts of things balanced on their hands, a piece of gum, a Tic Tac, a rock.

One brilliant kid was also an eight-year-old magician, who, unknown to me, sprayed his hand before the lesson with a magician's trick powder which sticks metal to the hand. I was mystified by his expertise during Fur Elise until he slyly turned his hands upside down and the quarters remained! 

Who cares how kids arrive at the correct hand position as long as they do so willingly and without tension? 

Be aware that some kids will raise their right shoulder to compensate for the coin, so gently push the shoulder down and say quietly, "Relax."

This game works best when the child has started to use the fingers as a group. Even a small group such as three fingers makes use of this game quite well, and will help the child comfortably and quickly adopt a flatter hand position instinctively.

Make a game of everything at the piano.

By John Aschenbrenner Copyright 2012 Walden Pond Press All Rights Reserved

PIANO IS EASY includes a 107 page song book with 44 songs. It is identical to the print version.

PIANO IS EASY DOWNLOAD wcs018DL $9.95 Includes download of printable 120 page illustrated song book with 50 songs in Adobe PDF format plus printable stickers. Identical to the printed version

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BOOKS

See also: PRESCHOOL PIANO PACKAGE: A selection of books for the youngest kids

See also: CHILDREN'S MULTI BOOK PACKAGE: Includes books for older AND younger children

See also: ADULT PIANO PACKAGE: A selection of books for adult beginners

REFERENCES

See also BASEBALL, KIDS AND PIANO

See also FUN PIANO GAME WITH A PAIR OF DICE

See also ORIGINS OF THE BLACK PIANO KEYS

See also PIANO CHORD GAMES FOR KIDS

See also FINDING A CHILD'S PIANO COMFORT ZONE

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Here's what your piano will look like with the piano key stickers applied.

Kids love piano chords. Try all the types here.

 

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The Piano Is Easy Book Package offers a discount for buying several books at once.

PIANO IS EASY BOOK PACKAGE INCLUDES:

PIANO IS EASY (ISBN # 0-9718936-1-6) Sturdily bound, durable, colorful 120 page illustrated song book with 50 songs such as Jingle Bells and London Bridge, Play Along Audio CD and removable numbered stickers. 

Every book package order of PIANO IS EASY includes a copy of I CAN READ MUSIC. This fun, easy-to-understand music activity book is the best way to start children reading music. Click here for sample pages.

Every book package order of PIANO IS EASY includes a FREE copy of the 56 minute DVD video from TEACH YOURSELF PIANO. This video will have you playing chords (three piano keys played with the left hand) and fun, familiar songs with both hands right away. That's a $16.95 value free!

2 BOOKS,  PLAY ALONG AUDIO CD and DVD 

Click here for a list of songs.    Click here for sample pages.

PIANO IS EASY BOOK PACKAGE $39.95   

 PIANO IS EASY book package includes a 120 page song book with 50 songs and removable stickers, plus a Play Along Audio CD, free DVD and copy of the book  I CAN READ MUSIC.

You can also purchase individual books with CD $24.95

Play Along Audio CDs help the child enjoy making music.

Teaching children the piano involves much more than just reading the notes.

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