When the October rolls around, it means that Halloween is just around the corner. If you’re working with kids this time of the year one thing is certain – even if you’re not into Halloween many of your students (and their parents) are! This is an opportunity for you to create connections between the holiday and the lessons you are teaching. Here are a couple of ideas to use with younger students and teens whose minds are preoccupied with Halloween.
Building on the Trick or Treat theme, I created a special incentive that works well with both younger students and teens. Each week in October the student has the chance to earn a treat by learning a piano trick. The piano trick can be technique related – like using “thumb under” when playing scales or it can be something more advanced like playing contrasting rhythms in each hand (left hand slow, right hand fast or vice versa). Another piano trick could be playing repeated notes with different fingers. The possibilities are endless!
The idea is to choose a skill that the student has been struggling with or one that you wish to introduce that will be used in a piece they will learn next. Your student will work hard and focus to earn the candy treat and you will have accomplished teaching them a new skill.
In addition to teaching students new piano tricks, you can also use this time to introduce them to pianists who do fascinating piano tricks when they perform. Here are a few YouTube links to these types of performances. Both you and your student will surely enjoy watching these. You may even be inspired to try some of them yourself!
Brian Culbertson plays piano backwards:
Tom Hanks plays piano with his feet:
Hazel Scott Plays 2 Grand Pianos At The Same Time:
Jon Schmidt of The Piano Guys Plays Piano Upside Down:
What piano tricks can you come up with?
Share them in a comment so I can have my students try it too!