Even though we had flurries in my backyard today, I’m ushering in spring to my piano teaching studio. My piano students have had enough of winter – they’re tearing around the front lawn with their winter jackets flapping in the breeze, and whether or not Mother Nature agrees… it’s starting to feel a bit like spring! I’ve dusted off my piano (my first foray into the spring cleaning that needs to be done) but there’s so many more ideas to explore to bring some spring fun into piano lessons.
I’m all for changing up routine – so for the week that we return from our Spring Break, I’m welcoming spring to the studio.
Welcoming Spring At Your Piano Studio
1. Decorate! I love to decorate for Christmas, but it’s much more unexpected to decorate for Spring. I have several blooming Primulas in the room, a vase of Daffodils and some spring-themed posters up in my studio. It puts me in a cheerful mood (who can be down in the dumps in front of a Daffodil after all!) and your students will also get a boost from the change of scenery.
2. Start a spring practice incentive program. Set aside 2 weeks for your incentive program (shorter works better as it prevents any chance of fizzle), and give each child a fun way to track their practice. Each of my students will get a flower that they put together as they practice (each day of practice = a colourful petal that gets added to a centre circle with their name on it). Once their flowers are complete we’ll be hanging them on the studio walls (and someone wins a prize from a draw… I’m giving the lucky student a really cool super soaker I got on sale at the end of the summer season). My boys are less than enthusiastic about flowers, so I have tree trunks and leaves ready for them to do the same. Here’s a hint – those free paint chips from Home Depot make beautiful flower petals and leaves (and some are even already in the shape of a petal or leaf…saving you time. Gotta love it!)
3. Change up your music games. Pull out the games from your collection that are colorful, spring-themed and active. PianoGameClub games offer lots of opportunities to select visually-engaging games that will breathe fresh air into your teaching.
4. Compose – give your students some spring-themed words as a springboard for creativity and help them to create fun compositions. Publish them (or teach them to publish them) in a free downloadable program like MuseScore and display them in your studio. Or, get really into it and host a composition performance evening where students play their spring piece and then trade their piece with others to end up with a “Spring” book of their peers’ music.
5. Introduce some spring-themed repertoire. Check out this website for a simplified version of Vivaldi’s “Spring” arranged for piano. Play the full orchestral version to your student on youtube or iTunes and have them complete an illustration (at home) of how the music made them think or feel spring-like.
6. Organize a fundraiser for your local SPCA (or other charity close to your heart). Everyone fundraises at Christmas time – change it up and bring a sense of community to your studio at this time of year as well. Some ideas include play-a-thons or practice-a-thons (students collect pledges), composition cupcake sales (each cupcake comes with a copy of a student’s original composition) or have a “bring a friend day” were the accompanying friend brings a small donation and is invited to participate along with your student in your wonderfully fun piano lessons (can anyone say studio promotion?!)
Time To Re-Energize!
Inject some energy into your lessons this month and get your students enthusiastic about their lessons again. Not only will the spring months fly by, but you’ll also be creating great experiences for your students that will really count come time for re-registration for the coming school year.
Wanting to add composing to your spring plans but just don’t know where to start? The Curious Case of Muttzart and Ratmaninoff is just the book you need! This resource takes students through the process of composing using a hilarious story and engaging characters. From the very first lesson they’ll be composing pieces of their very own! Check out more info here!