Michiko's Tips

  • Students will learn the pitches better when the original song is first learned without rhythm
  • Take time so students learn the hand signs correctly from the beginning of study
  • It’s important for students to learn hand signs in correct relationship to their body from the very beginning of study. This is more effective than to wait and let the students catch on gradually through observation.
  • Practice changing hand signs just slightly ahead of the beat so when you're leading a group, your students can see the next pitch just before they do it.
  • Add dynamics, especially when certain students are too loud, or soft. Use crescendo and decrescendo.
  • Perhaps you prefer relaxed thumbs parallel with the fingers as I do. It makes for a clean look and a smooth transition to mi. To correct a student whose thumbs are up, turn in their direction, smile and put your thumbs up. As you lower your thumbs, make a clicking sound with your tongue, stopping when thumbs are in place. They can copy you and lower their thumbs, too. This can be done as a reminder whenever needed and it’s fun. Or . . .
  • If anyone’s thumbs are sticking up* I say, “Thumbs up looks like a shark. Who was the shark in 'Finding Nemo'?” (Bruce)


*If you prefer thumbs up for so, it's okay.