Let's Chat!

by Allison Harris
(Virginia Beach)

I've been working with students with autism for over 10 years now and have been teaching piano for about 12 years.

If anyone would like some input on skills kids are getting hung up on, I would love to network! I love this site. Such a great addition, especially for my kiddos who need additional songs to practice before moving on in their books.


Hi, Allison, Thanks for being willing to network! I've moved your comment to where I hope it will be noticed most easily, a page about Teaching Ideas for Students with Autism.

Comments for Let's Chat!

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

I have recently begun teaching an 8-year-old girl with mild autism to play the piano.
by: Veronika

(Please note that I copied this from my previous post to Dana's page.)

She has had 4 lessons so far. At the first lesson, she showed me that she could press down on the keys, but only with the 2nd finger of her right hand. 

So I thought a good way to begin was to get her to press down on the keys with all 5 fingers of her right hand, and then teach her to do the same with her left hand.

I got an outline of a right hand and wrote each finger number above the finger in red. I also wrote large, red numbers (1 to 5) on index cards.

Then I discovered it helped to position the bench perpendicular to the keyboard. She sits in front of the keyboard, and I straddle the bench behind her. This way, I can hold her left arm down while taking each of her right-hand fingers and pressing them down on the keys.

I repeat 1-1-1 for the thumb many times. Then I say, "play 1". and see if she presses down a key with her thumb. If she does not do it, we repeat it again many times. If she does it, she gets a reward (small pretzel or popcorn), and we move on to another finger, and repeat the pattern.

After she learns to play with all fingers and the number of each finger, then I want to introduce counting beats. Beats will be in blue so that she does not confuse finger numbers with beat numbers. Do you think this will work?

After that, I want to introduce the note names on the keyboard. These will be in black (A to G). I think that teaching her to read music on the staff should come much later. I think that she will do better if she learns to play by ear first, and read music later. Please help me stay on track with this student. I will very much appreciate all of your help!

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Music and Autism.

Sign up for "Take Note!" to see what's new every month.