WHAT IS A POP IT, HOW AND WHY DO WE USE IT IN OUR PIANO LESSONS.
It was invented in 1975 by Theo and Ora Coaster but it became a real trend on Tik Tok with the hashtag #popit getting more than 11.5 billion views.
It is more than just a trend though.
Pop it was created to help people who feel anxious and have trouble focusing. It is something you can do to release stress and restore the mood.
It has also been used by health care professionals to help children with sensory difficulties and developmental delays. Pop it is a sensory toy which means it is good in activating one or more of our senses.
The interesting thing is that it is also appealing to children without these difficulties or challenges.
This is one of the reasons that pop its are effective in piano lessons. They help children who have difficulties with collapsed knuckles and not only.
How do we use them in piano lessons and what are the benefits
Pop Its are useful in piano lessons not only for children with some developmental challenges or sensory difficulties but also for every child that is learning how to play the piano.
Some children struggle more than others when it comes to finger control. See in this video below how I use pop its with two of my students.
Watch the video and you will realize that pop its are good for everyone.
Benefits of Pop Its during a piano lesson
Pop Its are useful to many children who play the piano with loose fingers and collapsed knuckles. Students are practicing using pop it with the ends of their fingers. To pop the bubbles, the fingers need to be curved and round, exactly as we need them to be when we play the piano.
Therefore playing with the Pop It is a good finger practice.
IDENTIFYING FINGER NUMBERS
The teacher should ask the student to pop with the 2nd finger, the 3rd, the 4th or the 5th of each hand. This is itself another good exercise for children to learn to identify finger numbers and right and left hand.
Here are two games you can play with your students using pop its:
Use two dice of different colors. One dice represents the finger number to use (re-roll if you get a 1 or 6), and the other dice represents the number of bubbles to pop. The first to pop all wins! Have them switch from RH to LH once half a board is popped.
You may buy colorful dices here
Student and teacher have one pop it toy each. Make a set of 10 cards or more. Write finger numbers in each card like 2-3-4 or 5-4-3 or 2-3-5 or 3-5-2-4 etc. Take turns to pick a card and gently use those fingers to pop the dimples. Whoever pops all the dimples of his toy first wins.
HAND POSITION AND WRIST RELAXATION
When children learn how to pop with round and curved fingers, you may take them one step further by teaching them a good hand position and a relaxed wrist.
Start by asking them to keep their finger in the dimple longer.
SIMULTANEOUS USE OF TWO FINGERS
We all know that not all fingers have the same strength and flexibility.
Find your student's 'weak' fingers and ask them to pop with two fingers of the same hand at the same time.
They may try to pop with fingers 2 and 4 or 3and 5. Sometimes it's a good idea to play simultaneously three fingers like 3, 4, and 5.
SIMULTANEOUS USE OF BOTH HANDS
We all have some students that they struggle figuring out which finger of one hand should be played silmutanousley with a finger of the other hand.
A nice and effective exercise is to give the student two different rhythms, one for each hand. The students will try to pop with both hands at the same time.
Students may have fun popping when at the same time they learn finger position and identification.
REPEATS ARE NOT BORING ANYMORE
When students are repeating sections of a piece to improve, it gets boring most of the times.
Ask them to play twice the repeated section on the piano and then ask them to pop it out anther two times. Play and pop it, play and pop it.
This will help them get distracted from the feeling that repeating is boring.
You can buy pop its by clicking below. Check the list and choose what is best for you and your students.
The hand shaped pop it is ideal for piano lessons. It helps children understand the fingering. You can find it here:
The following pop its are perfect for boys because of their color.
Check this video for more ideas on how to use pop its in a piano lesson.
Pop it is not just a trend.
It's a great tool for many people who work with children.
It's a great tool for piano teachers, too!
Try it and I will be glad if you commented or dm me to tell me more about your own unique ideas on using pop its in piano lessons.
Happy teaching everyone!