When a dinner fork becomes an airplane, something magical happens… it immediately becomes a vessel capable of delivering the most revolting food into the gullets of young ones.
At first glance the old “airplane fork” seems like a trick. But it’s not. It does not alter the taste or texture of the food. It simply makes eating more enjoyable; to the point where kids will actually accept mushed green beans.
In my studio, practicing scales serves as our equivalent to mushed green beans. Fortunately I’ve created a little “airplane fork” to make them a tad more palatable.
A Simple Scale Solution
Grab a jar and fill it with jelly beans or coloured marbles. Designate a specific scale on the piano to correspond to each of the coloured jelly beans. At the start of a piano lesson, instruct your students to reach into the jar, pull out a coloured jelly bean, and play through the corresponding scale. Upon successful completion of the scale (or several successful completions) the student eats the jelly bean or keeps the marble (don’t eat the marble… that would be all bad!)
And it’s as simple as that!
Piano lessons don’t always have to feel like a three-ring circus with entertainment around every corner. It’s often the simplest of tweaks that are enough to make mundane tasks worthy of a student’s best effort.
6 More Simple Solutions For Studio Snoozers:
- Use ice cream pails and drumsticks to turn clap-backs into a rock concert.
- Work on memorization with the studio lights turned off.
- Focus on phrasing with a kazoo.
- Sightread with a new pair of goofy glasses each week for an entire month.
- Build muscle memory by rolling a large foam die to determine number of repetitions.
- Add percussion to a boring piece with a combination of lap tapping, clapping, snapping etc.