This year’s late Easter has created the perfect storm for piano teachers. Not only will kids be pumped up about an upcoming holiday, but they’ll be overflowing with energy brought on by beautiful spring weather. We can’t rely on the cold and rain of February and March to keep kids focused during this Easter season.
Because kids will be more distracted than usual for most of April, piano pieces that are being prepared for upcoming spring recitals may not get the attention they deserve at home. It’s therefore important to maximize the effectiveness of lesson time and make sure your students understand their music inside and out. But maximizing lesson time does not have to mean drilling a piece for 30 minutes straight (which is likely to do more harm than good). Instead, maximizing lesson time means playing a piano piece at the piano AND using score study to explore the piano piece away from the piano.
In today’s post we’re sharing 4 Easter-themed score study games you can play with a handful of candy.
4 Score Study Piano Games You Can Play With Easter Candy
The ultimate Easter candy is, of course, jelly beans. They are a piano-friendly manipulative and are the tool of choice for today’s post. If you prefer not to use food in lessons, these games work great with IWAKO erasers, buttons and beads. Bringing thematic manipulatives into your teaching is an effective way to grab the wandering attention of young piano students while reinforcing important musical concepts.
Below we have outlined a four-week score study plan for Easter. By choosing a new game to play each week, you’ll sail through the month of April with ease.
- Week One: Jelly Bean Note Naming: Create a simple “key” by writing the note names C, D, E, F, G, A, and B on a piece of paper. Place a red, a green, a purple, a blue, an orange, a green, and a pink jelly bean beside each note name. Next, have your student create a color-coded replication of the treble (or bass) line of her current piece by lining up the correct jelly beans in the correct order. For example, if the first four notes in her piece are C, E, F, and G, your student will create a line that includes a red, a purple, a blue, and an orange jelly bean. Continue line by line through the piano piece.
- Week Two: Jelly Bean Intervals: Place two jelly beans on the piano keys in an arrangement that represents an interval that can be found in your student’s music. Challenge your student to name the interval (ie “a 4th”), and then locate iterations of the same interval in her music. Continue this activity for the remaining intervals in her music. This activity can also be used for chord recognition by placing three jelly beans on the piano keys.
- Week Three: Jelly Bean Rest Values: This activity will help your rest-resistant student to seek out and identify every rest in her music. To begin, lay your student’s music on a flat surface. Next, Use red jelly beans to represent quarter rests, green jelly beans to represent half rests, purple jelly beans to represent whole rests, and yellow jelly beans to represent eighth rests. Then, have your student cover the appropriate rests with the color-coded jelly beans.
- Week Four: Jelly Bean Key Signatures: Use this activity to rid your students’ pieces of those “forgotten” B flats. Place their piece on a flat surface and have your student identify every note that is affected by the key signature and then cover it with a jelly bean. If the key signature has more than one sharp or flat, assign a different color to each accidental and cover the notes accordingly (for example, in the key of D Major, F’s could be covered by a red jelly bean and C’s could be covered by a green jelly bean).
Three More Activities For Easter Fun In Your Studio
Looking for more ways to fill your Easter lesson time with fun? Check out these past posts on the Teach Piano Today blog:
- Four Egg-cellent Piano Games You Can Prep Now For Easter Week Lessons: In April, the stores are overflowing with those plastic Easter egg containers. Grab a pack and have a blast with the four games in this post.
- Scrambled Eggs; An Easter Piano Game To Reinforce Interval Recognition: This game is an action-based race that you can use to reinforce intervals with the students in your piano studio. Watch the accompanying video for easy instructions.
- Hop Into Composing With This Easter-Themed Activity: If kids are feeling uninspired in lessons, composing is a great way to reignite a passion for the piano. Use the activity in this post for some Easter composing fun.
One Last “April Task” For Piano Teachers
When the calendar flips from April to May, the end of the piano teaching year will be just around the corner. Before your piano students say goodbye to lessons and hello to summer, get them excited about next year by previewing the method books they will be using in September.
For many of you with kids graduating from the WunderKeys Primer Piano series, this will mean showing off WunderKeys Elementary Piano Level 1A. If you haven’t used this book before check it out here on Amazon.