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Eye/hand coordination (Read 16655 times)

Offline rgh55

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Eye/hand coordination
« on: August 08, 2013, 10:22:23 PM »
I have a beginning student, age nine, who has been with me for approx. 5 months and is playing in the Alfred 1A Primer. The problem, I think, is poor eye / hand coordination and is having great difficulty bringing her hands together. She struggles when playing a simple second or third interval in the bass with a single note in the treble and says that it is really hard. She practices 15-20 minutes a day. Has anyone had students with this problem and what kind of exercises can I give her to improve? She usually works on the same assignment for several weeks.

Thanks
 


Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Eye/hand coordination
«Reply #1 on: August 09, 2013, 01:13:06 AM »
You can try to use some simple coordination exercises to get her used to playing with both of her hands. Create some that are easy enough for her to play, something in a simple fixed 5 finger position.

eg:
2 vs 1
RH: C D E F G F E D C vs LH:C - C - C - C - C
RH: C D E F G F E D C vs LH:C - E - C - E - C
RH: C D E F G F E D C vs LH:C - E - G - E - C

You can also invert the hands, RH plays the LH notes above and LH plays RH. When using combinations of fingers get her to think about a particular action, 12: Pinch, 13:clicking 15:Outside fingers, 234 middle fingers, RH 123 bottom half etc.

You could further simplify coordination exercises by getting her to pat her knees. Get both hands to hit her knees to start off, then try to get her to do 2 vs 1 and switch hand beats. Try to translate this coordination to the piano with single notes then multiple.
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Offline dima_ogorodnikov

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Re: Eye/hand coordination
«Reply #2 on: August 09, 2013, 03:57:37 AM »
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No amount of how-to information is going to work if you have the wrong mindset, the wrong guiding philosophies. Avoid losers like the plague, and gather with and learn from winners only.

Offline outin

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Re: Eye/hand coordination
«Reply #3 on: August 09, 2013, 04:05:07 AM »
I used to have this problem myself in a severe form. This is usually diagnosed as "poor eye / hand coordination", but I think that may be a misnomer in this case. It has nothing to do with the eyes. It is a lack of proprioceptive sensivity in general: as a person, you have no awareness at all of where certain parts of your body are in space and in relation to other body parts, so to speak.
I also suffer from this...Walking into doorframes and hitting myself all the time...I think even with good exercises it may be a slow process, so time should be given.

Offline dima_ogorodnikov

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Re: Eye/hand coordination
«Reply #4 on: August 09, 2013, 04:17:46 AM »
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No amount of how-to information is going to work if you have the wrong mindset, the wrong guiding philosophies. Avoid losers like the plague, and gather with and learn from winners only.

Offline outin

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Re: Eye/hand coordination
«Reply #5 on: August 09, 2013, 04:36:07 AM »
See if your piano technician can get you a silent keyboard. It doesn't have to cost much, and it is fantastic to solve that kind of problems, really! It is the aural feedback and the wish to "play with your eyes" that hamper improvement. :)

I actually have a silent keyboard (I have a Yamaha silent piano). The touch is not very good in the silent mode, but sometimes when I feel really "off" I play a bit without sound and really it does seem to help.

Do you feel that your kinesthetic sense changes periodically, or have you just seen steady improvement? Because I tend have very good days when I feel like I really am in control and then really bad periods again...I do think the bad periods have become shorter and less frequent though.

Offline dima_ogorodnikov

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Re: Eye/hand coordination
«Reply #6 on: August 09, 2013, 04:44:34 AM »
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No amount of how-to information is going to work if you have the wrong mindset, the wrong guiding philosophies. Avoid losers like the plague, and gather with and learn from winners only.

Offline outin

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Re: Eye/hand coordination
«Reply #7 on: August 09, 2013, 04:54:04 AM »
It's pretty steady. I have to indicate the conditions though:
1) I have practised on this problem like crazy. I am now able to play ANY piece I have to do on my silent keyboard, no matter how complicated it is, but it was a path of blood, sweat and tears, as you can imagine;
2) I use no medication whatsoever.
3) I observe a strict regimen of balanced diet and enough sleep.

I think the sleep part is more important than I ever thought. I was chronicly sleep deprived the whole spring and I felt like my piano progress completely stagnated. During the summer with the work situation better I have been able to do late mornings and felt progressing again. I also feel more alert after giving up coffee.

I think I'll try consistent silent practice, just like I've done with sight reading. Maybe not ALL my pieces (you have my respect!) but some of them. It would also be good practice on my weak memory skills, my aural memory is the one that I think is rather good and I rely far too much on it...

Offline dima_ogorodnikov

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Re: Eye/hand coordination
«Reply #8 on: August 09, 2013, 05:16:18 AM »
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No amount of how-to information is going to work if you have the wrong mindset, the wrong guiding philosophies. Avoid losers like the plague, and gather with and learn from winners only.

Offline dima_ogorodnikov

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Re: Eye/hand coordination
«Reply #9 on: August 09, 2013, 06:44:34 AM »
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No amount of how-to information is going to work if you have the wrong mindset, the wrong guiding philosophies. Avoid losers like the plague, and gather with and learn from winners only.

Offline outin

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Re: Eye/hand coordination
«Reply #10 on: August 09, 2013, 07:06:39 AM »

My performance coach has the opinion that this aural feedback loop is the cause of many problems in performance, even in healthy people.

You are lucky to have someone who understands your problem! No matter how much I appreciate my teacher, I just don't think she understands my struggles. Probably because I can sometimes (unintentionally) manage quite well...The difficulties start when I really try. She just doesn't seem to believe how much I struggle with basic movements even if I tell her. So I tend to find solutions on my own...very slowly and after a lot of frustration...

Offline dima_ogorodnikov

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Re: Eye/hand coordination
«Reply #11 on: August 09, 2013, 08:29:27 AM »
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No amount of how-to information is going to work if you have the wrong mindset, the wrong guiding philosophies. Avoid losers like the plague, and gather with and learn from winners only.

Offline maitea

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Re: Eye/hand coordination
«Reply #12 on: August 09, 2013, 10:09:09 AM »
Dima,

Love reading your posts! You are the true fountain of wisdom! Which I had your coach!

I went to a similar problem. I think as a child as always understood "rationally" the coordination tasks, and I was a very "quick" learner. But with not good teachers.. I never developed a relax competent apparatus. I would always have tension in my hand, probably due to over stimulation to compensate for proper coordination.

Years after, with complex repertoire, hell broke loose! I felt so uncoordinated and wouldn't know how to play at all. One person once told me: " I cannot describe it, but I feel as your brain doesn't send the information to the tip of the finger, it all stops somewhere else". This kind of opened the door. I cannot properly explain either, but seems like I would send out the information, but it would stop in the hand.

This is already some time ago, work under someone else, and I've done pretty much all the suggested above, specially the dummy-piano, and is like night and day! For me it's also been beneficial to read about anatomy and know more about how the body is involved in playing. When I asked, none of the teachers I had, had an answer. I also practice yoga, which has given my body more strength and suppleness and calmed down my nervous system. (I wholeheartedly recommend). 


As for the OP: try closing the piano, and finger tapping in the board. I suspect, the student might be overlifting the fingers, and feels blocked as to when she has to drop them. Lots of hands separate, teacher playing the other part. Sing and play different voices. And do this type of "random" coordination games before giving her pieces where she also has to read. She might be overthinking.. ! Good luck!