P1 - B1

Posture, freedom of movement, and keyboard geography

Posture and freedom of movement:

  • Play with physical freedom and ease, without unnecessary tension:
    • across a comfortable range of the instrument
    • developing a comfortable and balanced position with appropriate forearm, wrist and hand position

Keyboard geography:

  • Understand the layout of the keyboard
  • Identify the letter names of the keys
  • Observe the repeating pattern of the keyboard and relate that to aural considerations
  • Begin to develop awareness of the visual and aural differences between whole and half tones

Posture and freedom of movement:

Explain to learners the benefits of positioning themselves an appropriate distance from the keyboard, and of keeping wrists supple and arms relaxed.

Demonstrate a variety of both successful and less successful approaches to posture and ask learners to make observations.

Demonstrate a variety of both successful and less successful approaches to posture and ask learners to make observations.

Be aware of learners’ individual physical characteristics and make adaptations as appropriate.

Encourage self-evaluation by use of a mirror. Video-recording could also be used for this purpose, but it is vital to check the policy of the school or other organisation you are working in with regards to any form of recording. Children must never be videoed without parental consent and all policies regarding use and storage of recordings must be adhered to.

Encourage the use of the entire range of the keyboard, sitting and/or standing.

Ask learners to swing their arms while standing in a relaxed manner and explain how this relates to having relaxed arms whilst playing.

Creating effective exercises and drills to enable learners to adopt appropriate posture is invaluable in large-group and whole-class teaching. It promotes independence, giving learners the necessary skills to recreate the desired posture in their individual practice.

Demonstrate various ways in which learners can achieve a relaxed and comfortable hand shape.

Possibilities include allowing the hands to hang naturally to the side of the body, observing the shape, and transferring this to the keyboard, or asking learners to place their hands face-up on their laps, then turn them over  and transfer them to the keyboard.

If learners have photographic permission, encourage them to take photos of themselves and annotate them to identify elements of good posture. This can be done with a photo editing app or presentation programs such as PowerPoint or Google Slides.

Keyboard geography:

Ask learners to observe and comment on the layout of black and white keys.

Ask learners to find and play all of the groups of two and then three black keys.

Explain the letter names for white keys, relating them to the nearby groups of black keys.

It may be best to start with a limited group, e.g. C/D/E.

Ask learners to comment on the aural similarity between notes of the same letter name, and explain to them the repetitive pattern of the keyboard.

Play games where learners locate, name and play notes across the range of the keyboard, as specified by the teacher, e.g. ‘Find all of the Ds, starting with the highest and working down.’

Ask learners to identify the letter names of notes played randomly, using the whole range of the keyboard.

Illustrate whole and half tones, asking learners to comment on the difference.

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