‘Tis the season for hacking coughs, runny noses, and pink eye. And while we’d love to offer every piano teacher a cure for what ails ‘em, the piano student illnesses we hope to cure with composing are a tad different… but just as unpleasant.
Composing is the Best Medicine
We are composing “super-fans”. And by super-fan, I mean picture me sporting a cheese hat and a big foam finger with a wild expression screaming “Wahoo… composing rocks!” This is no hyperbole. Composing is the secret anitidote that can revive your students and rescusitate your piano studio. Check out the following 5 “illnesses” cured by composing:
5 lllnesses Cured With Composing
For some piano students, finding motivational music can be a real struggle. You no doubt have had a student that has taken home every book of supplementary repertoire you own and still can’t find a piece that clicks. For these students, composing can be your cure. When you sit down to compose with students and suggest certain rhythmic or melodic patterns, all of a sudden their taste in music is revealed. Before long these students have found the music that works for them… their own!
Want to spike a piano teacher’s blood pressure? It’s simple, just say these 4 words I forgot to practice. This very common illness is often the result of an uninspired piano student. While they may “like” the pieces they’re playing, they have no special connection that makes them want to rush home and break out the piano books. Composing to the rescue again! When kids learn to compose their own piano pieces they are suddenly hit with a strong sense of ownership over their creation. This in turn motivates them to hit the piano practice hard to perfect their piece. After all, their composition is a reflection of who they are, and nobody wants “who they are” to be a broken, hesitated piece of music.
Even the most diligent, talented piano students struggle with the occasional mental block. Whether it’s as simple as a challenging measure or something more complex like technique trouble, composing can help your piano students conquer this illness. As we’ve written in the past, whenever we have students struggling with a concept we simply compose a little tune that tackles the block. You can read a more detailed post about our strategy here.
4. Self Confidemia
Composing as a cure of Self-Confidemia is based on anecdotal evidence. It is not easy to explain why it works… just know that it does work. There is something about composing that brings certain students out of their shell. So if you have a student who needs a pick-me-up, give composing a try.
Alright… so composing can’t actually cure Forgot-my-bookenza but it can deal with the very real symptom of having no relevant material to work on during a piano lesson. As long as you have some printed composition sheets readily available you can fly through a lesson whether a student brought her piano book or not. Now if anyone happens to have a real cure for Forgot-my-bookenza let me know!
Where to Pick Up the Composing
If curing the following “illnesses” is high on your priority list, but you’re not sure where to start with composing, then check out our resource The Curious Case of Muttzart and Ratmaninoff. It is a simple, yet pedagogically sound resource that is easy to follow for both teachers and their students.