Why the Twinkles? And for so Long?
Updated: Oct 13, 2019
In short, the Twinkles are a fantastic way for a young child’s hand and arm “get into shape” and become strong enough to set a firm foundation in technique for the rest of the child’s pianistic life; they also teach great concentration! Here’s a quick list of the benefits of learning all those Twinkles and why we must not give up on them so easily!
1). To play one entire Twinkle all the way through, with consistent staccato, accurate note placement, good hand position, form, posture and memory of the form of the song demonstrates a high level of concentration.
2). Twinkles teach a relaxed approach to the piano using the large muscles groups- hand and arm- rather than the small muscle/fine motor groups which a young child can find very frustrating. It then builds strength from the large muscles backwards to the small ones so that by the time they are ready to learn a legato Twinkle, their hands can handle it better. The fingers are actually operated by muscles in the arm. There are no muscles in the fingers.
3). They teach wrist and forearm staccato, two fairly advanced techniques used in playing the piano, and are a great way to build strength.
4). They take the child to a place on the piano that is physiologically correct for alignment- rather than “middle C” position, both hands are on the C’s that are aligned easily with the operating hand, right or left.
5). Along the same lines, they immediately show a child that fingers can move and play different notes- the thumb operates both c and d, thereby not keeping the hand in one place all the way through (like Cuckoo does).
6). They teach wrist release (wrist rolls) to keep tension out the hand, also not something generally taught to children, but extremely important to avoid injury.
7). Twinkles take the place of technical exercise such as scales, arpeggio’s and chords until a child’s hand is ready to play these and play them in such a way as to be injury-free.
8). And again- the concentration developed is extremely important as well. Eventually the student will play the whole book from start to finish, which is about 20-25 of concentrating.
As with everything Suzuki, small steps get you there!
Spend enough time daily on the Twinkles so they can have the effect they are meant to have and so your child is not held back by not being strong enough for the rest of the repertoire. And as always- listen to the recordings daily!