See that little keyboard stamp in the picture above? That stamp ranks as one of the hardest working tools in my studio. I first bought the stamp as a tool to help a dyslexic student, but it soon expanded to be used across the board for beginning and elementary students.
So – a little background here – I used to be much more purist in my teaching style. I would never (!) give away starting hand positions without a student figuring it out for himself first. I was afraid of the student being bound to hand position placements and not able to navigate the entire keyboard and staff. I was also wanted the student to know how to figure out hand positions for themselves. Well, of course I’ve been teaching for a few years now (about 22) and have realized that sometimes you just need things to work. You need for a kid to be able to play the piece at home and not have anxiety about where to put his hands. We all have students that have practiced a piece for an entire week in a completely wrong place on the piano (I just call it an exercise in transposing and move on – haha). Once I started using the stamp more, I realized that students (and parents) were much more confident in beginning new pieces. They actually did not become reliant on the stamp to tell them where to start, but rather it supported their ability to navigate the staff and keyboard on their own. I do not use the stamp on every piece, but I definitely use it now when I can tell a student may have trouble at home.
My purist attitude has gone by the wayside in favor of the more pragmatic attitude of “let’s get this done!”