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Helping Fidgety Students Focus with Active Sitting and Stress Balls

I have two students who are extremely fidgety during lessons. At some point, I'm going to have to read the information package I have on Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder to see what other strategies I can use. The following are a few strategies I've come up with along the way.

  1. Keep changing the activities every few minutes
  2. Keep these students moving from one part of the studio to the other side
  3. Make them "play like a rock star" (play standing up)

This active seating disc is good for posture correction and fidgety students. Photo by R-M Arca.

I'm sure other teachers have come up with similar formulae:

  • Do some stretches and warm-ups
  • Play a scale
  • Tweak a scale
  • Move to the computer and watch a performance on youtube
  • Back to the piano to play a song and tweak it
  • Down on the floor to do theory exercises or games
  • Make them sit on one of my active sitting discs

This week, I've made a new discovery: combine activities and work with their fidgety nature. While I was demonstrating something on the piano to one student, I made her stand on my Fitterfirst Classic Sit Disc. She loved swaying from side to side and I was astounded to find that she paid attention better.

Another student is not just fidgety but his hands are always moving. This week, I decided to keep his hands busy by having him use a couple of stress balls (from the good ol' dollar store) whenever his hands were off the keys. In addition to that, he sat on my new FitBall Seating Wedge and placed the Classic Sit Disc at his feet.

At first, I thought it was overkill but he moved to the music when he played and continued to move rhythmically in between pieces. I was delighted to see that he focused a bit better (I, in the meantime, was moving rhythmically and practicing active sitting on a FitBall Seating Disc).

On another note, one of my other students asked if he'd be allowed to bring an active sitting disc into his piano exam. Why not? People bring active sitting discs and core stability balls to work in the name of better posture, ergonomics and health. Musicians sit a lot and suffer from back pain, so to me, it's a no-brainer.

If anything, I bet his examiner will be jealous and want his or her own active sitting disc.

Here's a video about active sitting:

All three sitting discs are available at Fitterfirst, located in Calgary.

(c) 2009 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada.