With Christmas fast approaching, there is a very good chance that someone in your life (a spouse, a child, a sibling… even Santa!) is on a desperate hunt to find that last little something to stuff in your stocking.
To help them out, you might just want to forward them today’s post, because we’re sharing a few children’s books that are perfect for piano teachers.
Why are they perfect?
Because we’ve written a lesson plan for each one!… A lesson plan that you can pull out at a moment’s notice and use to hammer home theory concepts while piggybacking on the creativity and joy of children’s stories.
Two Cool Cows by Toby Speed
While the lesson plans for the next four books will link to posts from the past, this is the first time we are sharing an activity to accompany Two Cool Cows.
Two Cool Cows is a fantastic book full of inventive rhythms and fanciful pictures. The poetry is so engaging you can’t help but read it with rhythm in your voice.
But, this book isn’t just about enjoying a pleasant read… it’s also a fantastic way to inspire your piano kids to find freedom on the keys with a bit of improv. Here’s how to use it in a piano lesson…
- Read the entire book to your piano student and then re-read the first few pages. Let the rhythm of the words float into her ears
- Next, select two of her favorite phrases (short ones) from two of her favorite pages found in the story. Personally, I love “wickety thickety” and “buggity bog” from the passage “down through the wickety thickety fields into the buggity bog”.
- Write the words to these passages on a piece of paper and have your student come up with matching rhythms by clapping the words.
- Now, with her hands in a key of your choice (choose whatever key she is comfortable in), have your student create two melody lines to match the rhythms. Don’t be too picky when it comes to the rhythm… as long as she can play it as she would speak it… it’s all good.
- Next, turn the tune into an improv duet! Provide accompaniment to your student’s two melody lines by using the rhythm from the phrases “Two Cool Cows” and “Huckaback Farm” as your rhythms (see below) and a simple repeated pattern for the chords (change chords every two measures) . Repeat these phrases over and over. The chord pattern of I IV I V (one, four, one, five) works well.
As you repeat your part, encourage your piano student to jump in and fit her two rhythmic melodies over top of your accompaniment. Allow the music to evolve as you play – either of you can add anything… pauses, dynamics, a call and response structure… she can change her melodies… the sky’s the limit!
The Day The Crayons Quit
With over 2000 pins on pinterest, our music lesson plan to accompany The Day The Crayons Quit has been an enormous hit with piano teachers!
In the post we shared a while back, you’ll discover a great little lesson plan to inspire your students to creatively “mess” with a piece of music. In addition to inspiring creativity, this lesson plan also encourages repeated practice minus the mundane.
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
The Gruffalo is my favorite chidlren’s book… hands down. And, it also happens to be a great book for creating sound visualizations in the minds of young piano students.
Oh… and if you love printables… this lesson has two; one specifically designed for The Gruffalo, and a second generic printable to be used with any story!
Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzburg
If we want piano students to excel they need to feel confident to experiment. And, feeling confident to experiment only happens when students do not fear failure.
Beautiful Oops teaches piano students that mistakes are okay and can actually be turned into wonderful learning experiences!
Mole Music by David Mcphail
With January just around the corner there is a good chance a bunch of new piano students are coming your way.
Mole Music is the perfect first lesson storybook to get your piano students thinking about the power of music and what it means to be in piano lessons.
You May Also Want To Send Your Santa This…
While you’re in the mood for forwarding Christmas ideas to your friends and families, you may want to drop a few hints about how much you’d love a PianoBookClub membership. With awesome new music delivered to your inbox each and every month, PianoBookClub is sure to be on every piano teacher’s wish list!