Recently I sang this with a preschool student to help him find his singing voice. After numerous questions that only a 4-year-old can ask, such as, “Why did the snail want to go around the water pail?” and “What is a water pail?” he started giggling and told me he “liked this song.” Trying hard not to get distracted, I told him that was just what snails like to do. Then he asked me to teach him how to play it on the piano.
So, always ready to please my students (preschool children are so more easier to please than high school students!), I wrote it out for the piano. I have to admit I get a little thrilled when a student asks to play something. This time his questions were about my drawings. (“Why is the snail smiling? Why is he green and orange? Why is the water blue? What does a snail eat? What if he falls in the water pail?”). I hope you have a sense of humor because you need it with children.
Getting back to piano, notice that Snail, Snail is played with the third finger of each hand. This is my sneaky way to help little students learn to brace their third finger and drop into the keys. If you have a beginner who is having trouble developing a rounded hand shape, maybe this piece will help. If you are a parent helping your child, be sure to drop into the keys, not lift individual fingers. Try to help them keep all their fingers rounded and not poking out this way and that. Suggest that their hand is holding a cute green snail and we don’t want to crush it!
You can learn about the braced finger from Nancy and Randall Faber’s Piano Adventures and My First Piano Adventures. If you’re not sure how to teach the concept, check out their videos. [On their homepage click Teacher Guides, > My First PA Tour and Videos, > Video Lesson Guide, and watch Hangin' on a Fence Post.]