I love teaching adult piano students because they are so brutally honest about their struggles in learning this very challenging instrument. They are able to fall back on humour when dealing with challenging rhythms or difficult measures.
Little kids are different. While I’d love them to be able to approach their challenges with humour, this is often a lot to ask. In fact, many of our youngest piano kids will resort to shut-down tactics when things get tough. And when kids start to shut-down, nothing gets done!
So today I’m going to present a silly, but useful approach to helping our youngest piano kids overcome frustrating hurdles.
Enter the Measure Monster
If kids find it difficult to have a good laugh at their frustrations, let’s help them see the fun in their follies… let’s introduce them to the Measure Monster.
The Measure Monster I’m referring to is actually a balloon. But not any balloon. Because inside this balloon, my students and I place a measure from their piano piece that is making them mad. After blowing up the balloon, we use a marker to create an utterly ridiculous looking Measure Monster face.
My students get to take the Measure Monster home… but to be honest, I hope he never returns! Because the goal of each student is to perfect the difficult measure inside the balloon. And when the difficult measure is perfect, they get to pop the balloon, defeat the Measure Monster, and return the slip of paper to me in their next lesson.
How To Silence Silver Shriek
This technique is a blast if you have students using The Adventures of Fearless Fortissimo. Instead of a Measure Monster, we turn balloons into the Evil Count Kaspar or Silver Shriek. If you’re wondering who these piano villains are, then you’ll definitely want to click here to check out The Adventures of Fearless Fortissimo.