Save your coffee money this morning, because for just $10.00 we have a week’s worth of piano lesson ideas that will make your piano kids motivated, excited, enthusiastic, happy, gleeful… and a little bit smarter. Here’s how to teach a super-exciting Week’s Worth of Piano Lessons… with a little help from the Dollar Tree and some spare change.
Your Shopping Cart of Piano Awesomeness Should Contain…
1. package of glow sticks (15 for $1.00)
2. three micro cars (3 pack for $1.00)
3. package of dice (10 for $1.00)
4. package of Popsicle sticks (100 for $1.00)
5. three sets of clear plastic water glasses (5 pack for $1.00)
6. package of spaghetti ($1.00)
7. package of penne ($1.00)
Your shopping total = $10.00
Day One. Glow stick Scales
Scales are pretty darn dry and boring… until you turn off the lights! Give your piano student a package of glow sticks (one pack will last the entire afternoon’s worth of students). Turn the lights off, and have them place a glow stick on each of the keys on the piano that are used in the scale you asked for. Enjoy your glowing scale chart, and then have your student then take off the glow sticks one by one while naming each note. Then, with the lights on, have your student play the scale. Repeat with a new scale!
Day Two. Micro Car Theory
If you haven’t already tried our piano teaching game using micro cars to reinforce theory concepts you’re going to want to check it out for day two’s lesson.
Day Three. Interval Balance.
Grab a pack of dice and some Popsicle sticks. You: play a combination of 5 melodic intervals (anything from a unison to a 6th) on the piano. Your student: either by ear or visually (your choice) names each interval and turns the face of a die up to the number that matches the name of the interval (for example, you play a 5th they turn up 5). Then, holding a Popsicle stick in their teeth (flat side up), your student attempts to balance each of the dice, one stacked on top of the other, with the “interval number” facing out (see picture for clarification of the technique). You: play the interval combination again as they balance. If your student can keep all 5 balanced on the Popsicle stick until you are finished playing through the interval stack, they win a prize!
Day Four. Key Signature Stack.
Using your plastic cups and a sharpie, draw one sharp per cup (F#, C#, G#, D#, A#, E#, B#) close to the rim so that it is the right way up if the cup is placed rim down. Do the same for the flats. Spread out the cups on a flat surface (you can choose to mix sharps and flats or to do one set at a time). Call out a key signature, and have your student stack the cups in the correct order. For example, if you called out A Major, your student would stack the F#C#G# cups. Then, un-stack the cups and do it again!
Day Five. Time Signature Noodles.
Spend an evening watching TV and writing rhythmic values on pieces of penne with a sharpie (I’ve done weirder things!). Include a mixture of notes and rests and a wide variety of rhythmic values. In the lesson, spread the penne on a table-top. Your student then holds a piece of (dry) spaghetti in their non-dominant hand. After you have called out a time signature, your student creates a measure of rhythm within that time signature on their spaghetti stick by hooking their choice of “penne rhythms” onto the stick. You can make this more challenging if needed by requiring more than one measure (create “bar line” penne too) and by adding a stop watch. When the measure(s) is complete, lay the stick on the table and clap and count the penne with your student. Repeat with a new time signature!
Being an inventive piano teacher doesn’t have to break the bank. Being an inventive piano teacher also doesn’t need to take over your personal time. But, being an inventive piano teacher means happy students and happy parents and is word-of-mouth gold! This may just be the $10 marketing strategy you’ve longed for!
If you love inventive and fun piano teaching, but you don’t know where to start we’ve got you covered! Our “Shhh…Your Piano Teacher Thinks This is Practice” combined with our newest resource “Pssst…Your Piano Teacher Thinks This is Theory” gives you 176 different piano teaching ideas that are unique, hilarious and fun with a whole lot of learning!