|My hand - Age 7|
Last weekend I had the pleasure of giving a first piano lesson to a brand new beginner. She arrived with her Mom on Saturday morning with her piano bag, new glasses and a big smile. We had met earlier in the summer, so she knew there would be games and music and of course a kitten to enjoy.
Drip and RainbowI believe a good place to begin is with something the child already knows... finger painting! So we started at the table pretending to paint drips and rainbows with our fingertips. We said, "drip drip drip drip" as we tapped short sounds, and we said "rain-bow rain-bow" as we made long sounds. Then I gave her a set of drip and rainbow cards so she could create and tap her own rhythms. This is a point where I like to observe learning style. I find it interesting to notice if students like to use patterns when they create their drip and rainbow rhythms. During this activity I also make a point of asking for right or left hand, which leads nicely into the next segment. You may download and print your own Drip & Rainbow cards at Piano Discoveries.
Hands and FingersNext we found the page in her Music Discoveries workbook where we could trace her hands and label the finger numbers. From there we were able to play Flashy Fingers, where the student taps a sequence of finger numbers with RH or LH. You can download Flashy Fingers and the finger sequence cards plus other fun teaching aids by visiting my Piano Discoveries website.
High Middle LowNext we moved to the piano where we took some time to explore the groups of two and three black keys. We made peeping chick sounds up high, mooing sounds like a cow down low and the cat sang "meow meow feed me now" right in the middle. My students learn to verbalize as they play from the very beginning. With eyes closed she could easily identify the sound of the chick, the cat and the cow. Then we placed the high, middle and low cards behind the groups of two black keys as a guide. I sent this photo home to help her remember where to place the cards on her own piano.
Rhythm BlocksBack to the table where we discovered that in music we use tah for short sounds like the drip and we use half note for long sounds like the rainbow. I have a beautiful set of wooden rhythm blocks which fit perfectly on my Music Discoveries pages. We created rhythm patterns to clap together and then I clapped rhythms for her to notate with the blocks. This is a great follow-up activity to do at home with Mom and Dad.
Up We GoWe clapped and marched "tah tah half-note" around the room and over to the piano. Then we used our high, middle and low groups of two black keys to play "Up We Go" with the left hand...
(low) Two black keys what a breeze,
(middle) short short long sing this song,
(high) up we go high (low) low.
|First piano lesson!|
My student went home with a treasure chest box containing high/middle/low cards, drip and rainbow cards, tah and half note rhythm blocks and the Flashy Fingers game. Are we having fun yet?
Some of you may remember that I took the RCM Piano Pedagogy Viva Voce Exam back in June. One of the first questions I was asked was to discuss what I would cover in a first piano lesson. I can't think of anything more fun to talk about! I would be happy to give first piano lessons every day of the week.