We spend a lot of time learning to produce music in piano lessons… but likely not as much time learning how to listen to it. And I think part of the reason this happens is because we assume that listening to music is easy; it seems as though it should just be second nature!
But do your piano kids actually know how to listen to music? How to get past the passive state of simply listening and truly hear what is happening in their music? Teaching piano kids how to listen to music simply requires giving them the tools and the know-how. And the spin-offs of having trained listeners will be noticeable in their own playing.
Heard it! Is a Printable Piano Teaching Game
Print this Easter-themed piano game by clicking here for the game board and the card pack. Then, tune into your favourite CD (or head on over to Songza.com and type in any classical composer into the search bar) and get ready to have some fun!
How to play:
1. Shuffle the cards and hand them to your student. Place the “Heard it!” mat in front of your student.
2. Turn on your musical selection. Encourage your student to listen for 45 seconds without speaking.
3. Turn over the top card on the pile as the music continues. Discuss the meaning of the card with your student, and then let him decide where the card belongs on the “Heard it!” Mat by doing one of the following: 1) If he agrees that what he is listening to matches then the card goes in the basket side or 2) If the card does not match what he hears, then it goes to the critter.
4. Once your student makes it through the pack, the game is over. Discuss the cards in his “basket” and make connections to pieces he has played or is currently playing (i.e. “What piece in your method book also sounds peaceful?” etc.)
5. Repeat with a new piece as many times as you like!
Learn to Listen, Play Like a Pro
Training your students’ ears to listen well goes way beyond interval naming and rhythm clap backs. Once you have played this game several times, you can also encourage your students to add their own descriptive words to the card pack. You’ll likely be surprised at their insights once they learn how to actively listen. You can then use these insights when speaking to them about their own performances and make connections in a way that “speaks” to each individual student. And soon, truly listening will actually become second-nature to your piano students!