3 Super Skills for Piano Students
The most common question we get from our piano students’ parents might be this: “What are some skills my child can work on at home?” Well, once our students have learned their elementary five finger patterns (which are always worth practicing!), we have a curriculum ready for them. And that’s our SUPER SKILLS packet! In today’s post we’ll be going over the first three piano super skills to help guide our students through these important fundamental techniques.
Froggy Hops: Super Skill #1
Here at Myriad, we teach non-legato playing for the first 6 months or so with our young beginners. You might know this as “Froggy Hops“. We do this so that our students learn how to let their arm produce the sound rather than their fingers. The idea is to have the movement come from the forearm, letting the hands and fingers lightly bounce from note to note – like a little frog hopping.
Two-note Slurs: Transitioning from Staccato to Legato
This technique is a bridge between the staccato technique of Froggy Hops, and the legato technique of Super Skill #3. By the time they’re ready to focus this, our students will already be at least a little familiar with it from the first five-finger pattern they learned. Two-note slurs aren’t too complicated to do. But they’re a little hard to describe with just words. Which is why we made this quick video guide!
Playing Legato with your Hand Family: This is Super Skill is Super Fun to Practice
First off, we want to give everyone a little refresher on what we mean by “hand family”. This is a term that comes up a lot in our lessons. In a nutshell, it means that weight transfer is happening correctly behind one finger at a time. Your child and/or their teacher can give you a demonstration of how this looks in practice; what makes it important is that it allows people with smaller hands to play notes with tension-free technique.
Transitioning into legato playing builds on the previous two super skills. Here, students will be gently pushing from their forearms to connect one note to the next. The Super Skill method for learning this is to swing it up the crescendo and down with the decrescendo. Like our first two Super Skills, we’ve got a video guide to help demonstrate how it’s done.
Myriad’s Super Skills will help students develop proper technique and solid piano fundamentals. Even for more advanced students, these techniques are well worth practicing! And of course, Myriad’s piano teachers are more than happy to help our students get these skills down perfect, so don’t be afraid to ask for extra help with them!