While repainting a room in our house the other day it occurred to me that Painter’s Tape would be way more useful to a piano teacher than it would be to a painter. You see, for Painter’s Tape to be useful to a painter, it would have to actually prevent paint from sneaking onto whatever it is the painter is wishing to protect.
So, after peeling off miles of Painter’s Tape to reveal spoiled window trim, I decided to give the Painter’s Tape a chance to redeem itself and took it down to the piano studio where Andrea and I brainstormed a bunch of truly useful things someone (okay, really just piano teachers) could do with it.
Here’s what we came up with…
Off The Bench Activities Using Painter’s Tape
1. Pin the Tail on the Painter’s Tape
Using the Painter’s Tape, create a giant musical staff on the floor (treble or bass clef only). Place a beanbag (or other marking device) on a line or space on the staff. Have your piano student sit just below the musical staff with her eyes closed.
Next, play an interval on the piano. Instruct your piano student (while keeping her eyes closed) to name the interval and then find the beanbag and move it up or down the musical staff according to the interval played.
Once the move has been made, the student can open her eyes to reveal how accurately she was able to represent the interval performed by the piano teacher.
2. Spot the Difference
Using the Painter’s Tape, create a giant musical staff on the floor (treble or bass clef only). Instruct your piano student to leave the room. Place 4 beanbags on the staff to create a simple melody.
Invite your piano student back into the room and give him ten seconds to analyze the melody on the staff. Have your student leave the studio once again while you change two of the “notes” by stepping or skipping them up or down the staff.
Finally, invite your piano student back into the room and see if he can spot the two differences. Instruct him to tell you which notes were changed and if they were moved by a step or a skip.
3. Climb the Ladder
Note: To play this game you will need a deck of cards (flash cards or note cards) with pictures of quarter, half, and whole notes off the staff. Simply creating your own deck of 10 – 12 cards on a slip of paper, each with a picture of one of the notes will work just fine.
Using the Painter’s Tape create a ladder on the floor with 12 rungs. Have your student stand with both feet on the bottom rung of the ladder. Shuffle the deck of cards and instruct your student to take the top card.
Next, your student must hop up the ladder according to the number of beats the note on the selected card receives in 4/4 time. For example, if the student draws a half note, he must jump two rungs up the ladder.
The student must continue to draw cards from the deck and hop up the ladder until he reaches the very top. Keep track of how many turns it took to reach the top of the ladder. Give the student a couple of chances to set a record.
4. Time For A Rest
Using the Painter’s Tape create a square on the floor with four quadrants. In each of the four quadrants, tape a piece of paper with a picture of a whole rest, half rest, and quarter rest. Leave the fourth square blank.
Next, turn on some music and instruct your student to move to the music around, but not in, the square. At random intervals, stop the music and call out the name of a rest. Have your student quickly stand in the square containing the picture of the rest called. For added fun, occasionally call out, “Strike a Pose!” at which point the student must freeze in a goofy position on the blank square.
5. Clap, Clap, Tic Tac Toe
Using the Painter’s Tape create a giant Tic Tac Toe board on the floor of your piano studio. Clap a rhythm to your student. If he can successfully “clap it back” he gets to place a “game marker” (you can use anything… I use apples and oranges!) in one of the squares. It’s now his turn to clap a rhythm for you. If you successfully “clap it back” you place your marker in one of the squares.
Alternate turns between you and your student until one player successfully creates a row of three.
We’re Not Done Yet!
We love getting piano students off the bench and active. Check out these blog posts where we share some more great ideas to give your piano students much needed brain breaks… while keeping the learning wheels in motion.