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Develop Fine Motor Skills for Piano Lessons

Many parents want their young children to have a head start with piano lessons. This article will show some ways parents can encourage fine motor skills for toddlers and preschoolers. I will also show you how I like to adapt early childhood education toys to develop more advanced skills that will, at the same time teaching basic piano skills.

toddler piano lessons

Fine Motor Skill Development

Why is fine motor skill development important? Toddlers and preschoolers need to develop fine motor skills to be successful in school. Five fine motor skills kids need for Kindergarten include:

  • Grip
  • Name writing
  • Letter Formation
  • Number formation
  • Use of scissors
fine motor skills

Children build fine motor skills through a variety of childhood activities. Encouraging a child’s fine motor skills not only prepares kids for school, but also for playing the piano! You can help your child improve hand muscle strength and coordination of the fingers. is extremely important for beginners.

What Do Fine Motor Skills Involve?

Fine motor skills involve developing the small muscles that school aged children need for success in school. These are more complex skills that young kids need work to develop. Most kids need lots of repetition with fine motor skills. Some examples, everyday tasks, or fun activities that encourage fine motor development include:

  • dialing a phone
  • using a remote
  • using a computer mouse
  • turning doorknobs
  • buttoning and unbuttoning clothes
  • tying shoelaces
  • brushing teeth and flossing
  • using a toilet
  • picking up small objects, for example cheerioes
  • eating with utensils
  • opening and closing containers
  • turning the pages of a book
  • playing musical instruments
  • coloring
  • drawing
  • cutting construction paper
  • stacking blocks
  • finger paint
  • play dough
  • playing board games

Fine Motor Development for Piano Lessons

Most children will need to work on hand muscle strength, hand eye coordination, wrist stability, pincer grasp, and independence of thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger and pinky fingers. Fine motor skills develop only when kids have the opportunity to practice fine motor skills. Developing fine motor skills, as shown above, need not be isolated exercises. However, children develop these skills and refine them with parental intentionality.

When parents approach me to teach their four or five year old, an assessment of their motor skills is one of the first things I look at to see if a child is ready for piano lessons. Often I can encourage parents to build fine motor skills at home for a while if the child’s development isn’t where it needs to be. Of course at this age, developmental milestones are individual and we need to allow kids to develop at their own pace. But the development of fine motor skills can be nurtured with daily activities and games.

Games for Fine Motor Skills for Toddlers and Preschoolers

There are a lot of early childhood education games that teach math skills like sorting, patterns, numbers, counting, etc. Often these games can be augmented to support learning basic musical concepts needed in piano lessons because there is math in music.

Sneaky Mouse Card Game

sneaky mouse fine motor skill game

Sneaky Mouse Game is an augmented game based on the Last Mouse Lost Game. The Sneaky Mouse cards help develop finger independence and also teach the finger numbers for piano lessons. You can check out this blog post and watch this Youtube video for more information about this game. It’s even fun for beginners age 5-8 years old.

Muffin Music Game

Muffin Music Game is an augmented game based on the Learning Resources’ Mini Muffin Match Game. Squeezie tweezers will strengthen the hand muscles. Colors, numbers, and sorting are all educational features of the game. And this game easily turns itself into a preschool piano game as Music Muffin Game highlights note values: quarter note = 1, half note = 2, dotted half note = 3, and whole note = 4 counts.

See how to play Muffin Music Match!

What if my child isn’t ready?

Every child progresses at their own pace. Activities that include a lot of movement (gross motor skills) are also age appropriate and often more fun if your child struggles with the more complex fine motor skills. I always recommend group music classes or online classes (Like my online class with Beethoven, the adorable, pancake lovin’ sheep dog!) to help teach basic musical concepts that will also help prepare your child for piano lessons!

If this sounds like something you and your child are interested in, then check out my free music class here!

online toddlers music class

Get your FREE Music Mini-Class

Your toddler or preschooler will love this Music Mini-Class.  Join me and Beethoven, an adorable pancake loving sheepdog as we sing, dance and play together!

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