Category Archives: Technique


Shape phrases with playdough


A quick technique activity to develop phrase shaping. Musicians often talk about ‘shaping the phrases’.  OK, there are countless ways to shape a phrase, but your classic phrase shape is the arch-shaped phrase. Here the first note is lighter, then the tone deepens as we reach the middle of the phrase, then ends more softly.  […]

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Strengthen finger joints with this crocodile game


Here is a fun tool I made that strengthens all the fingers to help stop collapsing knuckles.  It’s easy to make your own.     Collapsing knuckle joints like the one pictured above are a common sight when people start to learn the piano, because they haven’t yet built up the strength in their finger joints.  […]

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A practice game to make repetition fun


Here’s how I use a fun game with a beginner teaching piece that really reaps its rewards through repetition.  The piece: Zebra on a Playground This is a beginner improv/technique piece from Piano Safari repertoire book level 1. The goal: strengthen the nail joint on every finger and cement keyboard geography. How: Play the piece […]

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Multi-tasking finger puppet


I am a big fan of using lots of fun props and manipulatives in lessons, and over the last few years I have ended up with boxes full of them.   I just can’t resist their lure! So I extra-love it when I can put them to work double-duty and find multi-tasking uses for these little […]

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