FREE SHIPPING FOR USA ORDERS OVER $150 – applied automatically at checkout.


When it comes to nurturing budding pianists, we need creative ways to motivate daily practice. Click here to see my arsenal of means to motivate. When stickers and verbal nagging fail, we bring you to the new zone of piano practice motivational means: “The Homeboy”, or “Gangsta” handshakes!

Thank you videojug for this awesome piano motivational video: Homeboy handshake tutorial. A must for any parent to master if they are nurturing little classical pianists at home!

Faced with a new piece of music, such as this one, a child may simulate a limp and slippery beached jellyfish on your piano bench, sighing “Oh! This is tooooo difficult!”,  a parched desert traveller “I am thirsty, I really, really need a drink of water again!” or a woman carrying twins in her third trimester, “I really need to go potty one more time”.  These hoopla can all be avoided when the parent is prepared. I will share with you one of the bazooka tools of motivating piano from my mommy toolbox. Look at the video and learn the trick.

If the new piece is too hard, break it down to small chunks and motivate the child’s attempt to try with big hullaballoo celebrations. Then, when the child practices her set of 3, 5 or 10, you can dole out one of the handshakes to practice with her. As the child practices her sets, you can reward her with one of the handshakes. After all, when a child is laughing out loud, she cannot be complaining at the same time! With such positive energy bounding, a child can get through tons of piano practice!

We start with the smaller handshakes and work towards the big momma shakes, such as “The Ankle”. Later on, you or your child may improvise your own secret handshake such as the “praying mantis”, the “Franz Liszt” or the “bunny”.

“The Ankle” (advanced handshake, I warn you) at 2:54 is very, very powerful! It got us through Dimitri Shostakovich’s March.

March by Dimitri Shostakovich


November 10, 2011. We will be using the more advanced gansta handshakes as we work through Sergei Slonimsky’s Thumbelina (below).

The rest of the Sergei Slonimsky’s Thumbelina

Do drop me a line if you have a good gangsta handshake video to share or any experiences on your piano journey! We love to hear from you.

Enjoy your happy times at the piano!


a comment