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Author Topic: Soft Mozart online lessons for members of BrillKids  (Read 10913 times)
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HH
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« on: June 10, 2009, 04:56:25 PM »

Hi, guys!

I think, we already have enough members on this forum who has the program. Let's start lessons here.

1. Before we start, please, find NOTEBOOK to keep our records. Everything that we are going to do, we have to write down. This way we can keep tracks of our records.

2. Make sure your program is properly tuned. If the sounds come from computer, you can switch it to the piano. Just go to ALL PROGRAMS - SOFT MOZART - TOOLS - TUNING - MIDI FEEDBACK. In the box switch to another option and SAVE.

3. Open GENTLE PIANO , chose any song and press S. Sounds should come from piano now.







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\"Education in music is most sovereign because more than anything else rhythm and harmony find there way to the inmost should and take strongest hold upon it, bringing with them and imparting grade if one is rightly trained. Plato
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2009, 06:34:27 PM »

How often do you have to practice?

It's up to you: everyday for 1/2 hour is the best, three times a week - good, one time now and then even if it is solid 1 or 2 ours is bad.

Playing piano and reading music is a skill. To build skill requires some discipline and organization. You can't go to gym once in a wile and build good muscles. The same with education: persistency and organizing are the keys.

Now let’s talk about fun. Let’s develop sense of fun in learning process: fun of being focused, organized, successful and self-motivated.

How to start with small (24 months+) beginners?

1.   Set the time of the day when you are going to learn music and keep it the way you keep your feeding schedule.
2.   However, if your child would ask you to do it between the times, don’t say ‘no’, but let him/her do it with no involvement: this way your involvement and time would be more appreciated.
3.   When it is time for practice, don’t be a ‘hunter’ to chase your child. Say: ‘Let’s go! Piano time!’ nicely, but not playfully. The message is – I mean business.
4.   When I start lessons with ANY child, I never look for his/her approval and barely make eye contact at the very beginning. Why? Here some logical explanation: even loving parents of 2-3 year old kids unable to give them 100% of their time and attention. Love is ‘in the air’. When mom chasing child? Most likely, if she needs to give a child a medicine or broccoli. When child chasing parents? When child needs something! So don’t make it a seen like YOU need to practice piano!
5.   Use precise reward for ANYTHING that you child did right! If you go to work, you do it for money, right? Why do you thing your child ought to have higher level for motivation? Children’s mind works in concrete way: I did something good – let’s see the reward. I use ‘music money’ that I bought in store, but not in complicated way: for me 1 dollar is ANY bill (even 20 or 50), because my goal to teach music – not math. But you can do your way. You may cut little paper butterflies or flags from construction paper. The deal is – let kids to collect some towards the end of the lesson.
6.   Be faire but strict. When kids play their street games, they lose interest if somebody let them win all the time. Same here. Set the rules and follow them. If you say: one dollar (butterfly, flag) off, if you bang on piano with no reason, DO IT! If you say: play this part once more and if your points would grow and timing drops, you’ll be ‘double winner’ and get 2 dollars (butterflies, flags) – otherwise, I will take your points from you.
7.   Find a use for the points earned during the lesson: have a pack of small inexpensive goods for this. DON’T SET A BIG GOAL TO BUY SOMETHING COSTLY IN FUTURE. Kids have short attention spent and they have to be reworded now and regularly for their achievements. 




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\"Education in music is most sovereign because more than anything else rhythm and harmony find there way to the inmost should and take strongest hold upon it, bringing with them and imparting grade if one is rightly trained. Plato
HH
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« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2009, 02:56:42 PM »

General rules of scheduling with the program’s games.

When you teach/learn with our program, think monthly, when it goes to master theory.
1.   Guess key
2.   Note Alphabet
3.   Note Duration
4.   Fruit lines
5.   Treble Staff Puzzle
6.   Bass Staff Puzzle
(If you got Deluxe)
7.   Solfeggio and Chords

After that again
1.   Guess key
2.   Note Alphabet etc…

Why is that?
The games are very intense and extremely interactive. Every time child plays the same game, he/she goes different root depending of mastery. The better you play – the more the program challenges you.

At first most of learners’ goal is … to be able to ‘keep head over the water’ – to keep focus. The games, in fact, are developing ability of players to stay focus longer and concentrate better in general. They are mind sharpeners!

So, when you play those games first time, use 1-5 minutes limit. Stop the game by pressing F1 and write the score.
Kids 2-4 year old have to play 1-3 minutes at first.
Kids 5-7 year old have to play 4-5 minutes at first
Kids 8+ and adult can start longer – 5 minutes and up, but better don’t exceed 10 minutes.

It means for a month you practice 1 game the same amount of time and every time you have to write the score. For example:

June 11, 2009
Note Alphabet
5 minutes 32 points

June 12, 2009
Note Alphabet
5 minutes 40 points

June 13, 2009
Note Alphabet
5 minutes 50 points



Next cycle you play the same game longer. You increase time of the game gradually in 3-5 minutes.

The goal of the games is to finish them in less then 15-20 minutes. It is not easy! It takes 6-7 years of learning to accomplish that! Even teachers with Master and PhD degrees are having difficulties to accomplish this task without practicing!

You would know that the game is over, when you see ‘fireworks’ of music notes.

When the game is in progress, but you have to leave it for a while, don’t let it run without you, because it would mess your score up! Simply press F1 and stop the game! When you are back, press ESC and continue.

You always have to play the game from the very start. To save your previous result is not an option, because you master your skills to read music to a very efficient level. Music is a language that should be read on the fly in no time. These programs are helping you to achieve this goal. When you are not even thinking but react automatically and subconsciously, you will become master of the game and be able to end it in even less then 15 minutes!





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« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2009, 12:44:31 AM »

Thank you for these posts Helene.  Today's was especially helpful.

I started the "lessons" yesterday with my 2 year old (actually he'll be 2 next month).  His name is Mason.  Yesterday he had no interest and I think I got him at a bad time.  So after reading today's post - I felt much more energized to say, "Come on Mason it's piano time."  And we delved in.

I used your week 1 lesson plan.  We don't have the flashcards but I pointed to the stickers on the keys and we did "Do Re Mi" up and down the scale.  He pointed to several of them and asked me "What's that?"  We did that for a few minutes.

THen I tried taking his pointer finger and go up and down the scale, but he wasn't really interested.  So I did the finger exercises a couple of times by myself singing Do Re Mi with it. 

But the real fun began with the Guess Key Game.  At first he wanted to make the spider come but then when I cheered when the elf came on - he got the idea.  At first I was calling out the names of the apples as they fell and used his pointer finger to find the correct key.  But then after about 30 seconds he wanted to do it himself and so he tried and some of them he got right and he was so excited.  We did it for 1 minute 30 seconds of game time - but the game was really slowing down - which was good for him to find the key but then it took a really long time for an apple to drop and he started losing interest.  Is this because he was so slow the game was getting so slow?  I understand about the apples dropping slowly but maybe they needed to have less time between apples dropping from the tree..

Finally we tried the "Hot Cross Buns" but by then we had already done about 20 minutes and was losing his attention.  But he wanted to hear me sing the song while I was pressing the notes.  And then he started to sing "Hot Cross Buns" while pressing a key for each word but it was the wrong keys but he was getting the idea that one key corresponded to one note or word in this case.  I tried again using his pointer finger but he was losing interest so we stopped. 

But he was GREAT overall!  And I could tell he was genuinely interested.  My only question is:  "Is it ok for me to use his pointer finger to press the correct keys the first few times until he gets the idea?  Or should I just be modeling it for him with my own playing or a little bit of both?"

Thanks again for this forum Helene.

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« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2009, 04:45:39 AM »

Hi, Jaluitgirl!
I was so excited to read your post! I felt like I was present on your first lesson with Mason! Way to go! It seems like you did just wonderful!

Quote
I used your week 1 lesson plan.  We don't have the flashcards but I pointed to the stickers on the keys and we did "Do Re Mi" up and down the scale.  He pointed to several of them and asked me "What's that?"  We did that for a few minutes.

Wonderful idea!

Quote
THen I tried taking his pointer finger and go up and down the scale, but he wasn't really interested.  So I did the finger exercises a couple of times by myself singing Do Re Mi with it. 

After being around the program for awhile, Mason would recognize the pictures and his attention span would increase. 

Quote
But the real fun began with the Guess Key Game.  At first he wanted to make the spider come but then when I cheered when the elf came on - he got the idea.  At first I was calling out the names of the apples as they fell and used his pointer finger to find the correct key.  But then after about 30 seconds he wanted to do it himself and so he tried and some of them he got right and he was so excited.  We did it for 1 minute 30 seconds of game time - but the game was really slowing down - which was good for him to find the key but then it took a really long time for an apple to drop and he started losing interest.  Is this because he was so slow the game was getting so slow?  I understand about the apples dropping slowly but maybe they needed to have less time between apples dropping from the tree..

1 min 30 seconds of game time is great for Mason’s age! Very promising result, in fact! Didn’t the fruits just freeze on the tree? They should. As I stated, the games are not ‘games’, but mind exercises: a minute from the start is good enough.

Quote
Finally we tried the "Hot Cross Buns" but by then we had already done about 20 minutes and was losing his attention.  But he wanted to hear me sing the song while I was pressing the notes.  And then he started to sing "Hot Cross Buns" while pressing a key for each word but it was the wrong keys but he was getting the idea that one key corresponded to one note or word in this case.  I tried again using his pointer finger but he was losing interest so we stopped. 

Did you sing the words, or the notes ‘Mi Re Do?’ Singing notes is extremely important for voice developing and ear training. It also promotes perfect pitch.

Wonderful that you stopped when he lost interest. You may even stop BEFORE he loses the interest.

Quote
But he was GREAT overall!  And I could tell he was genuinely interested.  My only question is:  "Is it ok for me to use his pointer finger to press the correct keys the first few times until he gets the idea?  Or should I just be modeling it for him with my own playing or a little bit of both?"

It is absolutely acceptable to use his pointer finger or any other fingers to press keys, like it is perfectly normal to keep his hand and prevent him from falling when he learned how to walk.  It would build up to the point when he would take his hand off and say: ‘Self’. But it is priceless – your time with piano together for now!

I also would recommend for you to take self-lessons as well. It would motivate Mason even more.

As for me: by reading your posts I get the motivation to keep sharing my experience!
 
 laugh  LOL  tongue

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« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2009, 04:32:16 PM »

Alright,
Let’s build our first lesson upon the Soft Mozart materials.

I will share with you how I do it and if you’ll find it helpful, just follow.

I usually start every lesson with beginners from EXERCISES. I am doing it for many reasons:

1.   To awaken awareness of each finger
2.   To establish technique development (make weakest and strongest fingers to work as a ‘team’)
3.   To establish and improve fine motor skills and coordination
4.   To learn piano keys layout by ‘hand on’ experiencing them
5.   To start developing comprehensively music ear and voice

Due to the fact that piano (especially keyboard) keys isn’t hard to press and simple pattern is not hard to follow, we have here a very powerful key to start piano lessons at home.

I checked that majority of kids from 2+ year old are capable of controlling each finger of right and left hand and coordinate both hands. So, I managed to teach them 4 essential exercises.

Today we’ll talk about exercise # 1 – ‘STRETCHES’ or HANON #1 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles-Louis_Hanon)

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/eP4DTUHd2ac&rel=1" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/eP4DTUHd2ac&rel=1</a>

Many great pianists were raised with Hanon’s exercises. I developed the way to play one initial exercise before your child learn how to read notation and sometimes before he/she can even talk  LOL

At first I want you to learn this exercise by yourself using this video from youtube. In my next post I will share some secrets with you, how to teach it to your child.


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\"Education in music is most sovereign because more than anything else rhythm and harmony find there way to the inmost should and take strongest hold upon it, bringing with them and imparting grade if one is rightly trained. Plato
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« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2009, 06:07:21 PM »

Let’s continue our lessons!

In our program ‘Soft Way to Mozart’ we do use piano key stickers and later on – piano-key guides. Piano stickers included in our Home version and stickers + piano key guides also included in Deluxe.

The stickers for piano keys are in Solfeggio (represented by pictures Do – Door, Re – Rain, Mi – Mirror, Fa – Farm, Sol – Sault, La – Ladder and Ti – Tea-cup) and letters of Alphabet.

Our program teaches and supports both languages for notes’ names and they are equally important.

We use Solfeggio pictures for beginners of ANY age and letters for advanced students to study advanced theory, harmony, polyphony and musicology.

Here is the reason, why it is better to start with Solfeggio notes’ names:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/5_gr0YN1xb8&rel=1" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/5_gr0YN1xb8&rel=1</a>






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\"Education in music is most sovereign because more than anything else rhythm and harmony find there way to the inmost should and take strongest hold upon it, bringing with them and imparting grade if one is rightly trained. Plato
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« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2009, 06:54:14 PM »

Marking the piano keys.

Well, when we drive a car, we see street signs and  numbers of buildings. If we can’t find street signs and/or numbers and we don’t know the way, we’ll get stressed out, starting driving too slow and our muscles are getting stiffed and tired.

This is exactly what happens when we play piano! Many look alike piano keys and many same looking music notes are not easy to be found!

This is why we placed ‘street signs’ and ‘building numbers’ on music notes and piano keys in conjunction with their placement on Grand Staff.

At the beginning of our invention’s development I speculated that Soft Mozart beginners wouldn’t get addicted to our piano key stickers and piano guides. I thought then: ‘Hmm… we don’t depend on street signs, when we drive the same route over and over again – so why the beginners would?’

My experience and later the experience of many other self-learners and educators proved me right! Piano labels served their purpose by taking the stress out of learning process and giving beginners a lot of joy and comfort to SEE what exactly they have to play.

At first I use stickers. But when my students gain more confidence and develop their technique, they are getting moved to piano key guides and after that to bare keys. As you see, it is gradual, step-by-step process.

This process also has to be natural and without any force. Don’t replace piano stickers with guides, if your child protest it or is having too hard time to adjust.
When beginners grow out of stickers or piano key guides, they find it over stimulating.

So, let’s go back to our lessons: now it is time to place SOLFEGGIO piano key stickers on our piano keys. You may find a map in your manual book (right in the middle), but I also attach 2 maps to body of this post:

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« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2009, 09:41:12 AM »

thsnk yoU HH , do you have a picture of how solfegio stickers would be for beginners on the piano ??.
I have a little 3 years old who talks in singing , would drop anything she is doing if she hears music playing , you'll be amazed to see her shaking her body on the music .
unfortunatly the software is way to expensive for us so i try to have a good listening program for her , and we'll try to play with those lessons you are posting on brillbaby .
thanks a lot
love
viv

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« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2009, 04:30:20 PM »

How to teach toddlers to play Hanon #1 exercise and why we have to do it.

As you saw in video, in order to play Hanon #1 you have to involve all the fingers equally in process of playing.

As you know, fine motor skills development is extremely important for brain. When you talk to pediatricians, you hear a lot of advices about using finger play, different small objects for fingers development and such. Neurologists found a straight link between fine motor skills and speech correlation, for example. It was also found that development of 10 fingers of both hands at once builds more pathways between right and left hemispheres in children corpus callosum.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corpus_callosum

Hannon exercise had to be played in parallel motion and it develops fine motor skills and coordination very intensively. It also makes the weakest 4th and 5th fingers (ring finger and pinky) stronger and more manageable. In my class 2 year-old students capable of playing this exercise and enjoy it very much. Usually we play one octave until students get stronger fingers and confident coordination. This exercise opens their hands towards exploring piano keys.

Tips on learning Hannon #1 (Stretches)
1.   Ask your child: ‘Are you strong?’ and firmly press Middle Do (Middle C) with you thumb.
2.   Ask your child to lift your hand off the piano and keep pushing the key to challenge him/her (we need that to establish feeling of gravity, when we produce the sounds on piano)
3.   Eventually ‘give up’ and ask your child to press Do with his/her thumb the same way
4.   If your child understood, how to press the key and stick to it, ask : ‘Do you have good memory?’
5.   Ask: ‘Repeat after me: stretch 1 2 3 4 5 6 7’ – child have to memorize these words
6.   Explain, that stretch means while keeping a key with thumb to find next key by skipping one with index. The rest motion should follow in precise order (look at the Hannon video again)
7.   After playing exercise for couple of rows I usually try to release some tension by asking silly question like: do you have driver license? Well, now we learn how to drive a music car and if you make progress, I will give you Music driver license.

PROGRESSION
1.   Give the exercise a month to master and include it in each of your lessons,
2.   Try to start every lesson with the exercise and give it 3-5 minutes
3.   First do it by taking control over your child’s fingers and do 1-2 rows at a time
4.   Practice right and left hand separately from the start.
5.   When your child capable of playing all 7 rows with one hand, ask him/her to do at least one row by himself
6.   When the child is playing the exercise confidently with one hand at a time, ask to do it with both hands at once (I usually say: ‘now one hand is going to be a teacher and another one is a student. Fingers should be on the same picture’)
7.   Next step – to play the exercise with 2 hands and SAY the names of the notes played
8.   Next step – to play the exercise up and down and to say the notes.
9.   Next step – to use rhythm section of piano or metronome to play the exercise evenly.
10.   Next step – to increase the speed.

Of cause, you won’t be able to achieve that much at your very first month with kids, especially if they only 24 months old! But you keep the progress in mind and every time you return to learning the exercise, you bring the learning to more advanced level.

Remember: learning is a spiral – not a straight line!

Here some video of my 3 year old student playing exercises:
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/5AWPULoTYDk&rel=1" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/5AWPULoTYDk&rel=1</a>

« Last Edit: June 16, 2009, 04:32:18 PM by HH » Logged

\"Education in music is most sovereign because more than anything else rhythm and harmony find there way to the inmost should and take strongest hold upon it, bringing with them and imparting grade if one is rightly trained. Plato
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« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2009, 04:43:36 PM »

thsnk yoU HH , do you have a picture of how solfegio stickers would be for beginners on the piano ??.
I attached the pictures to my previous post. Did you see them? If not, here some link:
http://www.doremifasoft.com/pikeystforit.html

Quote
I have a little 3 years old who talks in singing , would drop anything she is doing if she hears music playing , you'll be amazed to see her shaking her body on the music .

She gives you a SIGN that it is time to take music seriously.
 
Quote
unfortunatly the software is way to expensive for us so i try to have a good listening program for her , and we'll try to play with those lessons you are posting on brillbaby .thanks a lot love viv

Considering the fact that people use our software on daily basis for many years and the effectiveness of it, it is much under priced.  Of cause, it is investment at the start, but investment in education and your child well-being  is priceless.


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« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2009, 10:23:40 PM »

sorry HH when i spoke about cost i didn't mean that the software is overpriced . like you said the gift that can give our kids is priceless , i meant that for our family situation with a sick child and medical bill that we struggle to settle every month , it is hard for me to pay for it .
i was lucky to be able to get little reader for free with the points I have got by recommending the site to friends . in our house we never saved money when it came to education , when we went to the institutes in philadelphia for their intensive treatment prgram and their courses we used to come back home with a suitcase full of educational material and our bill was huge , we never thought twice before we buy . well after 15 years of medical trips and my daughter still very hurt and need lots of care , and therapies , money has become a big issue and we have to way our priorities . so for now i think i will be happy following your instructions on this site .
do you have by any chance any sponsership programs for families in our situation ??
love
viviane

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« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2009, 03:42:14 PM »

sorry HH when i spoke about cost i didn't mean that the software is overpriced . like you said the gift that can give our kids is priceless , i meant that for our family situation with a sick child and medical bill that we struggle to settle every month , it is hard for me to pay for it .
i was lucky to be able to get little reader for free with the points I have got by recommending the site to friends . in our house we never saved money when it came to education , when we went to the institutes in philadelphia for their intensive treatment prgram and their courses we used to come back home with a suitcase full of educational material and our bill was huge , we never thought twice before we buy . well after 15 years of medical trips and my daughter still very hurt and need lots of care , and therapies , money has become a big issue and we have to way our priorities . so for now i think i will be happy following your instructions on this site .
do you have by any chance any sponsership programs for families in our situation ??
love
viviane
Vivian,
I am very sorry to know about your circumstances!
Currently it is absolutely impossible for our company to give the programs away. But there is an option to consider for you: please, contact me directly and I would advice you personally. 

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« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2009, 01:21:37 AM »

Hi Helene,

My son is almost 2 - he'll be 2 next month in July.  I'm having a hard time helping him play the Hanon #1 exercises.  I tried to follow as you did but he seems uncomfortable "stretching" his fingers.  And it seems quite often taht he's pressing 2 keys at the same time with one finger.  Is he still a little young for this exercise or is there a trick or do I just keep trying?  I've been trying to just also let him watch hoping that observing might also lead to him wanting to try?  What do you think?

Right now the only thing he seems really interested in is doing "Hot Cross Buns" or "Twinkle Twinkly Little Star".  He seems motivated to play songs.  But he has no interest in the middle of the piano.  He'll try doing it up top or down low.  And he doesn't seem too in tune to the computer as much as he is just pressing keys and hearing the sounds they make.  Any advice?

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« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2009, 06:53:06 PM »

Quote
My son is almost 2 - he'll be 2 next month in July.  I'm having a hard time helping him play the Hanon #1 exercises.  I tried to follow as you did but he seems uncomfortable "stretching" his fingers.  And it seems quite often taht he's pressing 2 keys at the same time with one finger.  Is he still a little young for this exercise or is there a trick or do I just keep trying?  I've been trying to just also let him watch hoping that observing might also lead to him wanting to try?  What do you think?

Right now the only thing he seems really interested in is doing "Hot Cross Buns" or "Twinkle Twinkly Little Star".  He seems motivated to play songs.  But he has no interest in the middle of the piano.  He'll try doing it up top or down low.  And he doesn't seem too in tune to the computer as much as he is just pressing keys and hearing the sounds they make.  Any advice?

Yes, 23 months a little bit too young for such activity, but it is on the edge of being ‘just a time’.

Please, take to the account that likewise any other activity, it is always take time and discipline with toddlers to build new skills.

My recommendations for playing Hannon #1 would be: more preparations.

Play ‘finger game’ with your baby: take his right hand and
point at index. Say : ‘stretch’ .
Point at middle finger and say – ‘one’.
Point at ring finger and say ‘ two’
Point at pinky and say ‘three’
Point again ring finger and say ‘four’
Point again middle finger and say ‘five’
Point again index and say ‘six’
Point thumb and say ‘seven’

Do it once couple of time a day every day. So, when it would go to playing the exercise on piano again, anticipation would be already built.

I also got a notion from your letter that in your ‘lessons’ your baby does, what he wants. It is perfectly normal for kids of such small age! But now it is time to build in some structure. How?

Let’s start with small steps:
1.   Play RH of ‘Hot Cross Buns’ together. When it is done, reward the kid with a small goody.
2.   Play Guess key for 30 seconds – give him as many kisses or hugs, as many points he made.

Sometimes I teach family with 2-4 kids and noticed very interesting thing: when parents bring me the 2-3 youngsters for the lessons (after I taught oldest kids for awhile) they already prepared for lessons big time even though nobody directly tought them at home.

Even when your kid is running around the piano with stickers ( not to add that he see the direct relation between keys and notes with program) he learns a lot indirectly.
 


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