Noodling is a laid back term used to describe a loose sort of musical practice, almost “messing around” with the sound and patterns in music. At least, that’s what I mean by it.
Most of what our children do is structured and piano is not much different for the most part. But I want to tell you that is doesn’t always have to be that way. There is a lot of value in noodling around on an instrument.
Let me explain. We learn patterns, steps versus jumps, solfege, dynamics, pitch, tempo and harmony (chords or bridges). All of these can be fun to play by themselves, AND to experiment with. Sometimes you just need to “get away” from the task at hand before you can make sense of it. Like taking a walk to problem solve.
I’m sure you’ve heard a song before, and you can’t get it out of your head. (That’s called an “ear worm,” by the way). Playing it out, or trying to discover how it sounds, is actually an excellent way to train the ear.
And noodling serves a creative purpose. When you get around the keyboard without the constraint of note reading, you take risks, and you learn quickly that either a) “I like that sound” or b) “That didn’t sound so good.” It’s a time where it is OK to make mistakes. A safe space to fail and pick yourself up again.
So do enjoy noodling around from time to time. You never know! It may be just what you need to gain a different understanding of what you’re currently working on.