Today we’re continuing our series on using books to bring some creativity, imagination and fun into your lessons. And we’re using one of my favorite books of all time… The Day The Crayons Quit.
The Day the Crayons Quit – by Drew Daywalt… Having Fun With Repetition
This illustrator of this book is actually one of my favourite authors, and this book just hits it out of the park when it comes to originality…
A child opens his crayon box to find only a note… his crayons have revolted (black is sick of only being used for outlines, beige feels under-appreciated etc.) It’s a hilarious concept that is easily applied to the piano. And today we’re going to show you how this book can inspire your students to want to practice a piano piece over and over and over. Ready to begin?
Read the book to your piano student.
Next, discuss how certain parts of the piano (the pedal, different keys, different sharps and/or flats, certain articulation markings etc.) may feel if they also had a personality. For example… is Eb sick of being called Eb when he’s clearly D#? Are accent markings getting a headache from all the loud sounds? Is the pedal sick of only being a part of soft and pretty music? You get the idea.
Here are some examples of questions to start a discussion:
“What if Middle C just up and ‘quit’? What would happen to your piece if Middle C disappeared completely?”
“What if the bass clef was tired of always sounding so low? Where could you move your hands?
“What if all of the flats on your page decided to turn into sharps because they thought hashtags were cool? 😉 What would happen to each of your notes then?”
“What if staccato markings all of a sudden got lazy? How would that change your piece?”
Fold a piece of paper lengthwise (like a hotdog). At the top of one half, write the words “If the…” and on the top of the other half write the words “Then I would…”. Fill in the two columns with brainstormed ideas from Step 2,. so that you end up with some liking this…
If the bass clef was tired of sounding so low, then I would move both of my hands up two octaves.
If the staccato markings on my page got lazy, then I would play all of those notes legato instead.
If Middle C quit, then I would put a rest in place of playing that key each time I saw it in my music.
If accent marks were getting a headache, then I would play them piano instead.
Send this piece of paper home with your piano student. Encourage her to practice the piece according to the different phrases on the piece of paper. At the next lesson ask her to perform her favourite variation!
Small Bits of Brilliance Mean Big Moments of Fun!
If your student was keen on changing up her music to make it her own then she’ll likely want to do a whole lot more. And there’s so much you can do with young students to easily create their own, original compositions that sound fantastic. To teach this in a kid-friendly and engaging way, you need our resource “The Curious Case of Muttzart and Ratmaninoff”. This infinitely reproducible resource gives you 12 lessons that will teach composing skills your students need to be creating wonderful music from the very first day!