Develop Attention Span of Your Child With Music. Part 13.
To See the Key
In order to find the key that corresponds to a specific note, a student has to physically transfer visual focus from the music notation space to that of a keyboard. This is another “project” for an untrained eye.
A synthesizer with stickers is the most convenient way of finding the keys, as the picture with the name of the note is right at the fingertips of a player. That is why it is best to use stickers for presentations and initial lessons with beginners.
However, even in this case students might not be able to see and identify the desired key right away. To make it easier on the eye and to release attention, we can partially cover the keyboard.
If the student finds the right key quickly, you can gradually make the task more difficult:
Once the student learns to shift his focus from music notation to the key, it's time to start working on a piano piece.
The best way to do it is to take a short passage of a piano piece, between 4 and 8 notes in length, and ask the student to play it.
On this video a 2-year-old Christina is developing eye-hand coordination. The number on the right bottom of the screen shows the time delay (ideal number should be 0). Reading the amount of correct notes and time bar helps her teacher and parents to understand, at what stage of development baby is. It also helps to keep visual and abstract stimulation in balance.
If playing time on the timer interval does not exceed the amount of notes played (for example, 4 notes played in 3 seconds), the attention of the student is ready for further development of the focal concentration.
Synthesizer with tabs (Key Guides) requires more attention: the student must shift visual focus from the music note to the picture and make sure that the picture corresponds to the key.
As a rule, the timer of the Gentle Piano immediately reflects this seemingly minor complication – the rate of delay increases. It tells us that attention has partially shifted towards solving physical problems.
Stickers can be replaced by music tabs (Piano Key Guides) once the student can play piano pieces at low rates of delay, almost without looking at his hands.
Using the keys without stickers and tabs is the most complex problem for a beginner. As a rule, the attention is directed towards solving physical problems: to see what to play, to find what to press, and decide how much force to apply.
There are different methods that allow the novice to see the note and the key with “traditional” music notation and bare keys: white key search by location of black keys; memorizing the position of each note, and teacher’s tips. As stated earlier, these methods lead to attention overload.
If a student needs more than a second to find a note and a key, his attention is working overtime. Not only it doesn’t accumulate energy, it actually depletes it.