Have you ever had that feeling of dread before you begin to play a new song on the piano? It doesn’t have to be this way! As Mary Poppins so enthusiastically stated: “You find the fun and “snap”, the jobs a game!” Everyone wants to be able to sit down and play the piano, but that’s a little like asking the NFL teams to just go out and play football. There are hours of warm ups, weightlifting, strategy, practice, etc. with any sport. How about an actual board or card game, can you play the game in one minute? Can you put a 100 piece puzzle together in one minute? All of these are fun activities, if you find the fun. Today’s first fun way of practicing is the Backwards Game.
When you first look at a song, it is filled with many notes. Do you know why our telephone numbers are broken up into 3’s and 4’s? It is because our human brains can remember the numbers better if they are in chunks. This same principle is why you sigh when you look at the first page of a new piece of music.
So now we find the fun playing piano! Instead of looking at the beginning, start with just the last measure of the page, or song, depending on the number of pages. Just look at the measure and play the Treble Clef, then the Bass Clef, and then play them together. Now, that wasn’t so bad, right? Now try the measure before the last measure and repeat the process except continue to the last measure. Still not so bad, right? The game has now begun. Find the measure before the last measure you just played, same process, but now continue until the last measure. Each time you play to the end, your brain and fingers are having fun because they have seen most of this music before and you are only learning one new measure at a time:) The game ends when you reach the first measure of the song. This takes less time, is more productive and a lot more fun!
For more information on piano lessons for kids and the fine art of practicing backwards visit the article below from Music in Motion’s Blog.