Ideas for using imagery in teaching : LUSENET : Everything About Teaching and Learning the Piano : One Thread

I was curious to hear what kinds of phrases and imagery other teachers use to appeal to student's imagination. Since most of the ones I use I've "stolen" from other teachers, I'd like to continue my plagiaristic ways. Some of my favorites are:

Floating elbows (floating in water analogies) Feather in your thumb (to avoid accents) Gently curve your fingers as if holding a delicate flower (hand shape) Petting a small kitten (pianissimo touch) "Tickling" the keys (to "pull" in collasping tips) Hearing a voice right in your ear versus far away, like in ??? (name a faraway place!.....this helps with dynamic contrasts)

I'm sure MANY of you have gems to share....please do! As I wake up and get "caffeinated" I'll remember more.....

-- John Bisceglia (, April 08, 2001


One of my favorites comes from a friend of mine. She tells the kids to have "picky fingers." What she means is to really use the fingers and get a clear and articulate sound. Good for kids with lazy fingers.

-- Julie2 (, April 09, 2001.

Ooo. Just thought of another. I had a very old theory teacher that used to always say, "Don't poke and hope!" when people were poking around on the keyboard trying to get thru keyboarding assignments. I use it sometimes with my students just for fun when they are not thinking, just poking and hoping.

-- Julie2 (, April 09, 2001.

A few come to mind....

The piano teacher tells my son to play with his "pillows" (her anatomical reference to the pads of his fingertips) to achieve more legato in certain passages.

As for me, I found her suggestion to let the note "drip from my finger" very helpful to cure me of the habit of lifting my fingers too abruptly when we were playing some slower Schumann pieces.

"Fall down on it!" puts some oomph into my otherwise meek chords.

-- Cathy V (, April 10, 2001.

For children who hardly ever practice:

"IMAGINE that you've taken piano lessons for years, but you've never practiced. You're 40 years old and still not finished with this level!"

-- wow (, April 20, 2001.

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