One of the first things I teach young beginner piano students (those who have not had prior instruction) is the difference between the right (high) and left (low) side of the piano. My usual tactic is to say the right side is high and the left side is low. However, some of my younger students do not the know their right from left.

First Piano Lessons: Bird vs. Bear

One of the first things I teach young beginner piano students (those who have not had prior instruction) is the difference between the right (high) and left (low) side of the piano. My usual tactic is to say the right side is high and the left side is low. However, some of my younger students do not the know their right from left.

                                                                                                     

When in this situation, my approach is very different. While my student may not be able to understand the concept of right hand and left hand, most of them have a solid understanding of animals and what they sound like.

So I let my student explore the right side of the piano and ask them what kind of animal it sounds like. The answer almost always is: a bird. Then I ask my student to explore the left side of the piano and we talk about what kind of animal the left side sounds like. The usual answer is : a bear, lion or a monster. Whichever animals they suggest, those are the new names for their hands. The right hand turns into the bird hand which lives in the sky and the higher set of lines (treble clef) and the left hand turns into the bear hand which lives closer to the ground and bottom set of lines (bass clef).

Eventually we transition to right, left, treble and bass; when the student is ready and understands those terms. In the mean time, I bring the main concepts to a level and terminology they understand and are familiar with 🙂

If you  have younger music makers who are looking for something fun to do this summer, make sure you check out our PreK Summer Music Camp!

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