Teaching the Importance of Technique

Ask any teacher whether technique is important, and you'll receive a positive answer. Ask just about any student whether technique is important, and you'll get a look of confusion. Huh?

We as teachers know that technique is vital because it trains the hands in certain patterns that will be needed for literature. It encourages flexibility, agility, strength, and endurance. It's also important as a warm-up to "get the blood flowing" in the hands and arms.

To communicate this to students is sometimes difficult. I always mention the pattern training and the warm-up aspects to children and teens (using their favorite sport as the warm-up analogy). To adults, I discuss the flexibility/strength issues as well because many adults worry that their hands are "too stiff" and/or "too weak and untrained" to allow them to be successful pianists. Technique, for adults, is a very logical solution to a problem which vexes them, and they usually embrace it willingly.

Now as to getting children (and some teens) to -do- their technique at home, well, that can be a challenge! Some ideas:

Present technical material thoughtfully and in appropriate doses, and your students will profit from them by actually -doing- them.

copyright 1998, Martha Beth Lewis, Ph.D.
Contact me for reprint permission.

Piano Home Page | Pedagogy | Home Page