If you’re teaching through the summer months, your students are likely ready for a change in routines. I know you are too! The summer months bring a relaxed pace at home, the removal of school-based routines and a universal desire to be refreshed.
However, this doesn’t mean that summer lessons are a time to take it easy and ignore goal-setting and progress. A great deal of learning can be accomplished when regular time constraints from extracurricular activities and homework are removed.
Putting The “Summer” Into Summer Piano Lessons
So… how can you stop the heat-induced stupor and keep your summer piano lessons engaging and fun? Read below to learn how to put the “summer” into summer piano lessons.
We’d love to hear from you too – what are YOU doing to change up your lessons this summer season? Share in the comments below.
1. Road Trip! Summertime often means… road trips – if not epically long ones, even just family trips to the beach. Who knew road trips could also be a great time to practice note reading! Send your students home with this printable so they can put a spin on the good old’ “Licence Plate Game”.
While riding in the car your students can scan the road for license plates. Each time they find one of the letters on a license plate that matches one of the missing notes on their page, they draw that note onto the staff. Post completed printables in your studio under a big “Road Trip!” sign, or offer a reward for the most road trip challenges completed.
2. Sight Reading Sunglasses – Summer means it’s time to pop on the shades. Your local Dollar Tree can provide some great props for this activity. Grab four different pairs of sunglasses (go for the funny ones) and then fold a sticky label over the side of one of the earpieces. Write out labels like “Sharp Shooter” or “Ledger Line Ace” or “Chord Champion”. Then, while wearing these glasses your students will have eagle eyes for the theory concept being highlighted.
3. Ghost Stories – What’s a campout without a good ghost story told around the fire? We don’t recommend the bonfire part, but we do love the idea of incorporating this summer standard into your piano lessons. This activity is the perfect way to introduce minor chords, diminished 7th chords, chromatic scales, and whole tone scales… all those “creepy sounds”.
Choose a ghost story (don’t go too spooky!) and read it to your piano student (who should be sitting at the piano). Pause at regular intervals, allowing time for your piano student to produce creepy sounds using a minor chord, a diminished 7th chord, a chromatic scale or a whole tone scale… Can anyone say “sneaky way to practice technical work?!”
4. S’more Chords– Pair your campfire stories with s’mores and you’ve got yourself a real summer theme going now! To enjoy this fun ear training activity you’ll need some marshmallows, graham wafer crackers and squares of chocolate (and this can turn into a special take-home treat too if you grab some zip-lock bags).
Begin by playing a major or minor chord on the piano while your student closes his eyes. If he hears a major chord he creates a cookie, marshmallow, cookie stack. If he hears a minor chord, he adds the piece of chocolate to the middle indicating the change he heard to the 3rd of the chord.
5. Trip to the Museum – What’s a summer holiday without a little culture? For all those kids who don’t have the chance to be dragged through a museum, you can bring the museum to their lessons! Music and art went hand-in-hand way back when. So as your more advanced students learn to play Baroque music, Romantic Music, Impressionistic Music… pair their pieces with examples of the art that was being created at the time.
Show them examples from the National Art Gallery website (if you need a great resource). Discover the similarities in style and theme between art and music. Discuss what influences artists and composers had on each other and from their outside surroundings. You’ll find that your students’ understanding of, and connection to, their music will really blossom.
6. Popsicle Stick Practice – This was a super popular practice idea we shared on our blog and it fits perfectly with a summer theme… if you haven’t tried it yet, this is the perfect season to do so! Grab some popsicle sticks (or full-out popsicles!) and watch your students’ practice efficiency soar!
Summer = Happy Piano Students
Our PianoBookClub books and PianoGameClub games make it SO easy to plan amazing summer lessons. We’ve done the hard work for you with engaging materials that are eye-catching and exciting. Find out how $8 per month can change the way you approach supplementary repertoire and piano teaching games.