Spiralling piano keys

Something fresh

Unfortunately there never seems to be enough time in the lesson to fit in pieces, scales, ear tests, sight reading …. the list goes on… But what can you teach when you or your pupil need a break from routine.  Perhaps the long awaited exam is over, or the pressure of school is making practice difficult. Sometimes a change of pace acts like a tonic to revitalise lessons.

Without a great deal of extra teacher enthusiasm, sparkle and a good dose of creativity, pupils can flag into a state of turning up for lessons, but having a break from practising.  All has to be forgiven, but with a feeling of disappointment and a sense of teacher failure.  This situation needs to be nipped in the bud before the descent into the dreaded downward spiral!

Refreshing ideas for grey moments:

  • Exciting new book or pieces well-chosen for child.  A change of pace, perhaps mood pieces, may do the trick.
  • Pick up some jazz music or well-arranged pop.  Good time to try different genres.
  • Use cheat sheets or fake books and learn how to play by ear and add simple harmonies.
  • Music related side-fields – learn to sing, play recorder, conquer rhythm through creative means.
  • Teach some new concepts through games.
  • Play/teach duets. Duets are excellent for that change of pace.  Can be greatly motivating and will definitely hone skills such as rhythm, musicality and expression.
  • “Tricks” for technical work. eg. learn the trick of chromatic fingering, playing in thirds, starting a scale on any note.
  • For the little ones, a few simple-to-read or rote Christmas or Easter songs, whatever is in season.
  • Singing or rhythm games.
  • Lead sheets of pieces they have wanted to play.

Good luck!