Monday, August 9, 2010

Piano Practice....Sans Keyboard

Wow, this one is a doozy.  There is nothing more frustrating for a piano teacher than to have a student not have access to a keyboard.  Now some would say that the student shouldn't be taking lessons if there isn't a keyboard readily available, but sometimes things happen.  In the military world, one occasion that pops up sometimes is that a family's household goods are packed out months in advance of a move, yet the parents still want the student to take lessons. Or a piano might have so many sticky keys that it is unplayable. Or a keyboard not working properly. So many what to do?
1. Check out your local chapels, churches, etc.  Ask if they have a piano on which your student may practice.  Some churches, especially if given the back story, would allow practice on one of their pianos or keyboards. 
2. Check with a friend.  Do you have any friends with pianos or keyboards?  Ask if you could barter babysitting services or hot dinner in exchange for some time at their piano for your student.
3. Check your local hotels.  Some of the nicer ones have pianos or keyboards.  Ask if your student could play on it.
4. Check with a local university/college music department.  Ask if they have practice studios and if your student could practice there.
5. Lastly, make do at home.  Print out a paper keyboard, set it on the counter or table and have your musician work their fingers on the keys.  Have them press harder with their fingers to build finger strength.  Use a ball of socks on the floor for a pedal. 

There are times that we must get creative for practice opportunities.  A brainstorming session with the teacher, student and parents would be very helpful.  Try to work together and figure out the best avenue possible for the young musician.  Anything is possible!

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