Monday, October 1, 2018

Piano for Teaching Spatial Reasoning

When my daughter was about 12 years old, I taught her how to play the flutophone, then started teaching her piano. She labored exceedingly over the process. I knew there was a problem with her eyes, but the eye doctor never saw a problem. We eventually gave up on piano lessons.

It wasn't until my daughter started college that we discovered vision therapy.

We found out she had trouble with eye tracking. That was exactly what I was trying to articulate and work with all these years, but had no idea what to call it.

After she completed Graduate School last July, I pulled out the piano books and suggested we try them, again. As far as she has come with her eye tracking, she is still struggling significantly with spatial reasoning, which is causing hurdles in her life.


Her eye tracking is much improved!

However, her fingering and timing skills were awful. We've had to pull out the metronome-not her favorite tool. We've also reviewed repeatedly how to count notes by counting out loud and clapping as I point to the notes.

She's also still memorizing the notes in the base clef. Some of those sticky notes are to remind her which pages she needs to memorize for music theory. Other sticky notes are pieces she needs to practice on the piano.

Completely new to her is working with both hands: playing both treble clef and base clef simultaneously. That is a huge challenge...and employs spatial reasoning. There is a lot for her brain to manage...which is precisely the skill that has caused her hurdles in her life. The piano, though, is a safe way for her to grow in that skill set.

Also new to her are practicing her scales. For now, I'm only having her do C scale, one hand at a time. Soon, though, I'm going to have her play C scale with both hands simultaneously.

She's also memorizing easy little pieces, like Row, Row Your Boat and I'm a Little Teapot. Her newest piece is Lavender Blue, which is a lovely little piece. I have always loved playing that song out of my mom's piano book when I was growing up. My daughter did some research and tells me that Lavender Blue dates back to the 17th century.

We have lessons once a week. I assign homework (that's all the sticky notes). It used to be that I really needed to stand by her side and point out the mistakes on a daily basis, because she wasn't catching them herself. Instead, she was only practicing major mistakes.

Finally, though, I think we've made some significant progress, where she can trouble shoot on her own. Yea!

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