Students been using note labels on keys at home!!! : LUSENET : Everything About Teaching and Learning the Piano : One Thread

I had a tough one yesterday! I got a new 10 year old transfer student--actually her piano teacher 'let her go' (after 5 months)for unexplained reasons. I didn't understand during the interview as this is a darling little girl--very quiet and respectful. She brought the Alfred method book she'd been using and it appeared she was 1/2 way through the first level. I asked her to play something and she stared at the keys like she didn't have a clue...she couldn't play anything. I got out some flashcards and she was able to answer most things correctly unless it was anything to do with notes on the keyboard. After a very frustrating lesson and not being able to figure out why she had no idea what fingers to put on what keys, no idea where Middle C was, her mother happened to 'mention' that this seemed to always be a problem for her--knowing where the notes were on the keyboard when she went to her lessons. Then, as an afterthought she asked if might be anything to do with the child's dad-who had taken masking tape and put the note name on each key on the piano so she'd know where the notes were!!!!!! OK, first I was flabbergasted, then I was so thankful she mentioned this! He totally disabled this child! (I imagine they failed to mention this to her former teacher).

So, where do I start? Her mother says she has an aversion now to learning the notes on the keyboard without this helper. Do I just force her to start as though she were a total beginner, learning the intervals, note names, etc. I've never experienced this one before!! Thanks for any input! Rose

-- Rose (, February 04, 2005


What I would do is everything I normally do to teach note names to absolute beginners. The expectation is that she would learn this almost exclusively at my home. After about four weeks, she'll probably want to remove the stickers herself.

You mustn't consider this forcing her or beneath her in any way. She doesn't know something and you will teach her. She won't take offence.

Every beginner I teach starts with playing all the keys up from the bottom and naming them. Then they spell words on the keyboard etc..

Good luck.

-- Anita (, February 06, 2005.

Since you say she now has an aversion to learning the notes on the keys without the stickers, perhaps a whole new challenge would help. I would start with D, and have her notice how it feels to her fingers; that is, it sits between 2 black keys. See if she can find all of the Ds from low to high, with her eyes closed. Obviously stickers won't help with this. The first week she can probably work on D plus C and E; the next week add G A F B. This will not only get her thinking about the keys in terms of their relationship to the sets of 2 and 3 black keys, but will be a good start in her playing by feel rather than looking down to read stickers!

-- annie (, February 06, 2005.

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