It can be challenging to get a child to focus on piano posture. Most kids just want to play their songs, not worry about their hand shape or body alignment. But from the very first time your child touches a keyboard, they are forming habits, patterns of movement, and pathways in their brain that can be difficult to change. Encouraging great piano posture from the beginning will pay big dividends later. Here are the basics:
Piano Posture Repair in a Positive Way
Sometimes all your child needs is a little reminder about piano posture, but when reminders turn to nagging, it can lead to discouragement and frustration. Instead of watching for when your child does something wrong, watch for when they do it right. Say things like, “Your left hand fingers are so nice and curved right now! Can you make your right hand look the same?” If you want to review good piano posture, click here.
Every child varies in how much feedback they will tolerate from a parent. Children are very honest about feedback. Even if they don’t say it with words, their emotions and body language will tell you. If what you are doing to correct your child causes a negative reaction, read those signs and try a different strategy.
Piano Posture Games
Here’s a method I use in my own teaching. I have a set of finger puppets in my studio, and if I want a student to work on some aspect of piano posture, say having a curved and relaxed finger shape, I will have the puppet watch the student play so long as the student is doing it right. If the student stops doing it right, the puppet will turn away and stop watching. It is amazing how hard children will try to keep that puppet watching!
As another possibility, let’s take for example that your child tends to let their wrists fall below the level of the keyboard. You can say, “I’m putting five pennies on the piano, and every time your wrist goes down I’m going to take one away.” Even though you are taking something away, make sure you keep it positive. If you took away two pennies, at the end congratulate them for the three pennies still on the piano. Suggest trying again and working to get four or even five.
Make working on piano posture into a game, and you’ll be developing good piano posture habits that will last a lifetime.