My daughter’s Grade 2 classroom is a world of wonder. The room is overflowing with DIY creativity that turns it into arctic adventure one month and an undersea garden the next. I don’t know where her teacher finds the hours in a day to make it all happen.
But despite my feelings of inadequacy, I am so grateful for her teacher’s efforts to bring joy to learning. With a new adventure arriving every month, school never gets stale.
Inspired by my daughter’s teacher, I set out to find time-saving hacks that would help piano teachers take their students on musical adventures every month in their studios. The result? A plan that will allow you to thrill your piano students and impress your parents by quickly creating a studio that is full of monthly adventures.
Making Your Studio Magical… Without Losing Your Mind
Why should your studio have monthly music themes? Because it’s SO FUN! Capturing the interest of your piano students makes them excited to arrive at your studio each and every week. But it’s not only fun for your students… it quickly breaks up the monotony of dong what you’ve always done for 25+ years. We all need a shake-up every now and then, and a burst of creativity each month can be just the ticket. Plus, monthly music themes can make your piano teaching concepts come to life as they can reach into several aspects of your lessons.
If you’re wide-eyed and shaking your head thinking, “I don’t have time for that!”… keep reading.
Kids have wonderful imaginations. Because of this, you can get them excited about monthly music themes with a few cleverly selected decorations, DIY crafts and activities. There is no need to spend days transforming your studio into a movie set to make your students feel like they have blasted off into space, dove into the ocean or swung into the jungle. Instead, let their imaginations do the heavy lifting, triggered by your bite-sized pieces of creativity.
The plan? Choose just five simple things you’ll do to bring the magic of monthly themes to your piano studio. With these 5 tasks complete you’ll have your monthly music theme ready to go in just a few hours. This makes it not only enjoyable, but sustainable. Check out how it’s done below using a Jungle Theme as an example.
1. Decorate Your Studio Door
You don’t need to deck out your entire studio to bring the magic of monthly themes to your piano lessons; the door is the only real decoration you’ll need!
As the entry point to lessons, a decorated door will set your students’ imaginations in motion. But it does more than just that: it communicates to parents just how awesome your piano lessons are. A decorated door gets noticed. But you don’t have to be an artist to make a decorated door look great. For example, if you’re doing a jungle theme, a door wrapped in orange paper and then covered in creatively-placed black strips of paper makes for an awesome-looking tiger print.
Here’s a video of some decorated doors for your inspiration:
2. Build A Themed Rhythm Instrument
Rhythm training is a part of every piano lesson. With a little DIY craftiness your students can incorporate your monthly music theme into their rhythm practice with an instrument that coordinates with your monthly theme.
Watch the video below as a jungle-themed hand drum is crafted with a few easy-to-find materials.
3. Rename Your Students’ Piano Pieces
If you’re doing monthly themes then, obviously, you need themed music to match. But finding piano music that matches your selected theme can be difficult. Instead of wasting your time on an endless search for jungle music or undersea music or unicorn music, buy some themed name tag labels, stick them over your students’ piano pieces titles and then brainstorm new names that matches your theme.
If you head on over to Oriental Trading you will find name tag labels to match almost any theme. In no time at all Yankee Doodle will become Vine Climb.
Now, if the sound of a piece does not match its new name, this is simply a great opportunity to explore how changing dynamics and other elements of music can affect its sound.
4. Invite Your Students To Bring A Themed Stuffed Animal
Nothing gets kids more excited than being able to share a part of their lives with you. Asking them to bring a stuffed animal that matches your theme to their next lesson will send them over the moon.
Once at the lesson, the stuffed animal can perform all sorts of tasks. It can be an audience for a practice recital, a tool for a piano game, and a home practice tracker, to name a few.
Obviously with a jungle theme, it will be easy for kids to find a coordinated stuffed animal but with a little creativity you can make any theme work. For example, if you are doing a superhero theme, create a little cape for the stuffed animals entering your studio out of a colorful paper napkin.
5. Find A Themed Music Theory Prop
A simple prop that matches your monthly theme will be all it takes to get your piano students excited about learning theory. Choose a magnifying glass for jungle themes, an Inspector McEye for superhero themes and unicorn-horn pointer for… unicorn themes 🙂
And if you’re a PianoGameClub member than you can also choose from our vast array of theory and ear training games – you’ll find one to match almost every theme!
Have You Used Any Interesting Themes In Your Studio?
In the comments section below we’d love to hear from any teachers who use monthly themed in your music lessons. What themes have you used? How do you get your kids excited about your themes? What worked well? What did not work well? We’ve love to hear your thoughts!