Is your child all set to start off with music classes? If yes, then it is time you help your child get interested in fundamentals. The schools start with teaching “three Cs”— Concentration, Coordination, and Confidence. It is believed that ‘Coordination’ is the trickiest skill to learn.
Most music instruments such as drums, keyboards, and guitar require both hands to function as a pair. Sometimes they even require working against each other. Beginners may not be able to cope with it. They may even conclude that the task is next to impossible for them.
Here are some tips to help you improve hand coordination and muscle memory of your child for piano or guitar:
One by One
Most music experts and teachers recommend learning left or weaker hand part first on a musical instrument. This is because the weaker hand demands more time for getting oriented when compared to the stronger hand of the child.
Practicing coordination exercises silently is important. Child can be put to keyboard fingering exercises on a table. These exercises such as these can help develop muscle memory.
Regardless of the music instrument your child decides to play, learning to coordinate hands to play varied rhythms is important. This can start with left hand tapping out quarter notes and the right hand tapping out eighth notes and vice versa. At times, keyboard techniques stress on contrapuntal or counterpoint exercises (hands play varied melodies) to develop coordination. These exercises are advanced and should be carried out under the guidance of a trained professional.
You must focus on physically strengthening the weaker hand of your child. This is one of the crucial aspects of boosting coordination. Readymade strengtheners are available on the market. Squeezing a tennis ball for a few minutes each day will also be helpful.
One of the most frequent questions asked about learning keyboard include the left hand practice over the right hand. Experts believe that it is a personal choice. Both hands (mainly for a finger picker) are important and must be given equal opportunities to learn intricate movements.
Up & Down
An easy way to learn hand coordination on the keyboard is to get hands in “ready position”. Thereafter, rest both thumbs on middle C. The fingers should be on the four white keys (either side of C). The child needs to play up the scale using right hand and down the scale with the left hand. Towards the last, let him start a scale with the left pinky resting on F and go all the way up to right pinky (G) and back again.
Coordination improving exercises must include playing scales and rudiments at the beginning of each practice session. These can be considered as warm-up exercises. Children get bored easily. To get rid of this feeling of ennui, help your child learn varied scales and rudiments. Also encourage him to switch between them. Most of the top music institutes recommend practicing arpeggios with scales to help children familiarize the sounds of varied chords in altered keys.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Keyboard hand coordination can be improved by increasing fine motor awareness in the fingers. Encourage your child to press keys slowly without looking at the fingers. It is important to place a hand in the “ready position” first. Thereafter, play the scales slowly and let the child become aware of the way each key feels to the touch while it is pressed and raised.
A Handy Tool
Using click track or a metronome is helpful for coordination exercises. This tool is also helpful for drummers to keep their strokes steady. Using a metronome for control while playing scales will help a lot.
For keyboard hand coordination, encourage your child to play the right-hand melody with the left hand. The idea is to break out of the customary left-hand pattern. This will increase left hand awareness, creativity, and mobility.