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Trip Over It

I have a lot to remember. My husband, son, daughter, my 93-year-old mother, my best-friend-in-crisis, my students, what they're all playing...oh wait...you have your own list?

You don't need to read about mine?

I am practical about this. If I need to remember to take something with me, I put it in front of the door so I'll trip over it on the way out. Hard to forget something you trip over.

Which brings me to this passage Iliana was playing in her Halloween piece, Moonlight Mischief.

I bet you can guess what the problem was without my telling you. Something about that C# was not working for her. 

 

A passage from Moonlight Mischief from Halloween Level Four. 

A passage from Moonlight Mischief from Halloween Level Four

 

I'd tried explaining to her numerous times that her 3rd finger needed to get back further on the keys so she would be ready to play the C#. She is a bright little girl and completely understood. But she couldn't do it.

 "Hmm..." I thought. "Maybe she needs something to trip over?"

Tiny colored magnets taped to the keys provided just the right amount of tripping. These would work, but I used the ones from my magnetic grand staff. 

Iliana loved the idea of taping things to the keys. The real learning happened when she first saw me taping the blue magnet to the key.

"That's the one BEFORE the one BEFORE the black key!" she said, sure I'd made a mistake. 

 "Yes," I reassured her. "That's the place you have to start to prepare your hand to play the black key. Otherwise it's too late and you'll keep missing it."

Iliana and the magnets that helpfully tripped her.

"Oh!" she said. "NOW I get it."

And she did. Here's a short video of her learning process with the magnets.  A bit shaky at first, then completely internalized and able to transfer the skill to another octave without the magnets to prompt her. 

 

Before anyone freaks out about taping things to the keys, just relax. I used this tape and there was no residue left on the key. If you want to be picky, you can try this removable tape which might be even better.

Anybody you know who keeps tripping and might need a little help tripping their way to the right notes? 

Here are some other things you might find helpful.  

Tips for Teaching Pentascale Shapes

Making Labels

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