Teaching Little Hands - Entrada

January 26, 2022

Teaching Little Hands

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A couple of years ago, I began a collection of videos designed for piano teachers working with young elementary students. Along with my student Allison (5 ¾ at the time), I explored the development of new and engaging strategies to be used by teachers with young students. Applying three-dimensional pedagogy at the earliest stages of study was a particular focus.

The first video concentrated closely on encouraging improvisation and the importance of allowing students to take chances, be creative, and be okay with making mistakes.

Reminiscing on that first video, I remember being moved by Allison’s extraordinary creativity and our ability to communicate non-verbally while improvising together.

With nothing more than a steady rhythmic foundation and some passing glances, we played harmoniously. Allison provided the magic; she took her own liberties and made changes as they came to her.

Taking inspiration from my late friend Forrest Kinney, who opened the first book of his Pattern Play series with what he called “World Piece” — I drew upon the primary chords and the submediant of G-Flat Major (the same four chords used in so many pop songs).

Several times as we played I would invite Allison to end the song but through her playing, she would tell me it wasn’t time yet!

Entrada helps teachers on the journey to becoming more well-rounded in their own abilities and enlightens them on new, innovative ways to instruct others. We’ve released our entire “Teaching Little Hands” series in Entrada as Insights, covering things like arm weight drops, arpeggios, and the quiet hand. Explore how to effectively teach these techniques to your youngest students. 

Musically yours,



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