I Can Do it Myself - Now

She could do it herself. Sabine, barely five years old was thrilled. Kids are much more likely to observe fingerings if they write them for themselves.


She had to redo the 2nd measure. She started with 1-2-3-4-5 and then noticed her error. She stopped herself, erased the wrong numbers and corrected them herself. Without prompting or comment from me.

My New Kite from Piano Town Primer

There's a crucial difference between a child being dependent on pre-printed finger numbers and a child writing in the finger numbers herself. When she writes in her own fingerings she is deciphering the code of music notation. Notice that the piece she's writing on has only starting fingerings. 

When I have a student whose handwriting is still too illegible for this task, I let them dictate the numbers to me and I write them. I go ahead and write down the wrong numbers if they tell me something incorrect. They usually figure it out when they run out of finger numbers and still have some notes left. They are still getting most of the benefit of this task, but the music stays neat. 

Here's another opportunity to focus on one task at a time. If the student reverses their numbers, (writes a backward "3" for instance) think twice before pointing it out. There's plenty of time for that next week. If you're working on note reading and fingering, do you want to work on handwriting too? Maybe that's a job for another day.

Are there times when you do things for your students they might be better off doing for themselves? 



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