As a child I became a master at the learn-regurgitate-forget method of acing tests and earning perfect grades in public school. But unfortunately, much of the knowledge I was exposed to did not truly sink in to stick with me much after the test was done. As I teach piano to children, I want the learning process to be memorable enough that the brief interaction we have each week will stick with them easily enough for them to recall it at home.
Story telling is one of the powerful tools in my teaching bag that I often pull out because it creates vivid, memorable images in a listener's mind and often evokes emotions that make more connections within the mind. A good story can make all of the difference when retention and repetition is the goal. When teaching piano hand technique to young beginners I have used this story to make the lesson more memorable so the concepts stick. If their hand collapses or wrist droops it is much more fun and less threatening to dramatically say "Oh no an earthquake squished Nile," or "Nile's getting all wet" then to directly address the issue. Of course some students will be more enamored with making a house for a cute little polar bear or teddy bear, so I let them choose from my mini erasers the perfect character to build their home for.
Once upon a time there lived a crocodile named Nile. He was searching for the perfect home. But Nile had one problem. He was scared of heights! So he didn't want to climb any mountains to find the perfect home. And he didn't want to go in a canyon, because he would eventually have to climb out.
He walked along the level groundsearching for his new safe home. But then he spotted a small slide. He decided to be brave and give it a try. He slid down the slide and discovered that at the bottom there was a cave. It started to rain so he crawled inside for protection. He had discovered his very own new home with a special secret slide entrance!
So if you want Nile to come live in your piano "House"...
KEEP WRISTS LEVEL... NO MOUNTAINS OR DROOPY WRISTS.
THUMB PLAYS ON SIDE TIP LIKE A SMALL SLIDE.
NON PLAYING FINGERS ARE RELAXED. DON'T FLYAWAY.
KNUCKLES ARE TALL LIKE A BRIDGE THAT SUPPORTS THE HOUSE.