Welcome back for our Tuesday Teaching Tactic – today we’re sharing a tip called the FREEZE Game. It’s so simple, no printing or cutting required. Next time your student is playing and tensing up, just say “Freeze!” (You may want to warn them that you are going to call this out, at least the first time you play this quick game.) Then students should stop immediately, or freeze in whatever position they are. Their eyes don’t move, their hands hold the exact position and notes they were holding, etc.
At this point, teachers get to check the students. When I play this game with students, I usually start by tapping that shoulder that seems too high from tension – if the student is holding it in an unnatural position, the freezing makes them aware of the muscles that are tensing up here and then I ask them to drop just their shoulder. If students looked really slouched over , I tap their spine and ask them to sit up straight. Then I look at hand position – is their second finger joint collapsed on the key like a banana finger? Are any fingers tensing up and standing straight in the air when they should be relaxed on the keys? Are the wrists too high? You get the point.
We may do this a few times in a lesson when we are really working on correcting a bad habit in hand position or working on relaxation while playing. And sometimes for the younger girls, I tell them I’m Elsa and I will be freezing their body to check for tension. That “Frozen” theme to the Freeze Game is their favorite part of lessons usually.
Enjoy trying the Freeze Game in your studio this week!
Whitney Hawker, NCTM, teaches group and private piano at Weber State University, Utah. She loves surprising students with the perfect piece or a new exciting game! After graduate school, she missed sharing ideas and resources daily with colleagues so she and her friend, Spring, began blogging together at 4DPianoTeaching.com