At least once a year I try to take my students to a music performance that we can experience together. We’ve gone to the movies, scene STOMP, concerts, and this year we are going to see How The Grinch Stole Christmas presented by Broadway Across America. Since the show is this weekend, I decorated the studio with some Grinch items. All week I waited for the students who were going to the show to mention the decorations but of course no one did!
Here comes the interesting twist – I am one of the few teachers in my area who will give lessons to 4 year olds so I tend to always have some kids this age each year in addition to my older students. Wouldn’t you know that it was one of my 4 year olds who showed up to the lesson and immediately mentioned the Grinch decor. In fact she was completely zoned into the Grinch. This student is usually extremely focussed especially for a 4 year old but truthfully she has a much longer attention span than many of my older students. So, it was very surprising that she just could not focus on anything but the Grinch!
Here I was all ready to continue where we left off in her previous lesson on keyboard note names and the Grinch was threatening to hijack the whole lesson! My student kept asking if we could read the story of How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Well not to be undone, I made a deal with her that if she played her concert song for me (we are two weeks from the performance!) and do the note name activity that I’d planned then I would read her the story. Thankfully she agreed to this.
You can be sure that at each step she reminded me that we still needed to read the story. So, finally we got everything done (in about 10 minutes) and it was time to read the story. That’s when I pulled a special out of my “teacher bag of tricks”. I told her that the Grinch wanted her to play a “G” every time she heard his name in the story. She gladly did this, although I could tell that at certain parts of the story she was a little irritated at having to find yet another different “G” to play, but she did not complain because she got such a kick out of my animated reading of the story.
The word “Grinch” came up so many times in the story that I am sure my student will ALWAYS be able to find her “G” note on the piano, and as an added bonus she will have a fun memory to go along with it!
Has any studio prop ever threatened to hijack your piano lesson? I’d love to hear about it!