6 Ways Piano Teachers Can Rebound From ‘Blue Monday’

Feeling a little down?  Don’t worry… you’re not alone.  Yesterday (January 21st) was “Blue Monday” – the most depressing day of the year.  In fact, Blue Monday happens every year during the last full week of January.  And it’s all very “scientific”.  According to Wikipedia, Blue Monday is determined using the following formula:

where weather=W, debt=d, time since Christmas=T, time since failing our new year’s resolutions=Q, low motivational levels=M and the feeling of a need to take action=Na.

Silly?  Maybe :)  A great excuse to pump it up this week in your piano lessons to inject some fun? Absolutely!  There are 6 days left in the week, so here’s a new and fun idea for each one of them.  (Pssst… rotate the days that you use these ideas and you’ll keep your students entertained for the next 6 weeks!!)

6 Ways to Energize Your Piano Lessons And Shake Away the Blue Monday Blues

 1.  Inch Worm Intervals

Grab a bucket of gummy worms and play this completely simple game.  You are guaranteed to have their attention… they’ll be waiting for the “Okay you can eat them!”.  Place one gummy worm on the lowest note on the piano (make sure your keys are clean… it’s flu season!)  Ask them to place their worm a chosen interval higher (ie. Put your inch worm a 6th higher).  Continue until your worms have inched their way all the way up the piano.  For more advanced students you can specify major/minor/augmented/diminished.

2.  Grab Bag Sight Reading

Decorate 3 brown paper bags with colorful cutouts.  Place pieces of paper with numbers 1 through 10.  Your student reaches into the first paper bag.  The number they choose dictates the page of your favourite sight reading book.  The 2nd paper bag number dictates which measure to start on and the 3rd paper bag dictates how many times they play from that measure to the end.  You’d be surprised at how mixing things up like this makes it fun.

3.  There’s an app for that!

Create a black and white cardboard frame like an iphone.  For every lesson activity your student completes (book work, review, play from memory, sight reading, ear training  theory game etc.) they receive an “app icon”.  These are easily made and printed out in your word processing program… or just stay tuned for a free printable for this later this week on our blog :)

4.  Freaky Friday

Change places with your student on Friday.  Everything is backwards.  They are the teacher… you are the student.  Have them direct the lesson, teach you a new piece, give you feedback on their pieces that you play for them.  So much learning happens when roles are reversed.

5.  The answer is up in the air

Tape 3 balloons to your wall.  Use a jiffy marker to write a title of a piece as well as one specific goal for each piece on each of the 3 balloons.  As the lesson progresses let them pop the balloon once they have completed the task.  If you’re an extra fun teacher you can sneak some small wrapped candies inside the balloon before you blow them up.  (My advance apologies to all of those piano studio pets you wrote about last week!)

6.  My Favorite Thing About Teaching You

Do something unexpected and send each of your students home with a handwritten card you have pre-prepared.  Start the card with “My favorite thing about teaching you is…”  Fill in the blank with something genuine and detailed.  Thoughtful gestures like this mean more than you’ll know!

Are you feeling those Monday blues slipping away?  Good!… because it’s Tuesday and it’s time for some fun!

17 Responses to 6 Ways Piano Teachers Can Rebound From ‘Blue Monday’

  1. mary aalgaard says

    I thought the MN on the bottom of that equation stood for Minnesota where, today, it is negative 20 degrees fahrenheit. Ice Blue Monday (and most of this week)!

  2. says

    I love this! Instead of doing them on consecutive weeks, though, I might adapt each one to a holiday coming up — Valentine’s balloons, St Patrick’s grab bag (coins from a pot?), the gummy worms can be for spring (or at least dreaming of spring)!

    Thanks for ALL your great posts, Andrea!

  3. says

    Wow, what great ideas. And thanks to Leigh for even more ways to use them or make them last longer. I’m definitely going to try the Freaky Friday. I think my students will get a real kick out of that one! As usual, great job Andrea. Thanks so much for all you share.


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