Piano Trick or Treat

Piano Trick or Treat by TheFameSchoolBlog.com

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!

Easy Piano Lesson Plan

 

Piano Lesson Plan

My version of How To Teach Piano In 84 seconds by Andrea Dow of the Teach Piano Today blog.¬†Here’s how you can make it and use it in your lesson with students who have short attention spans:

1.Write out 6 activities on jumbo popsicle sticks and put a strip of flat magnetic tape on the back of each stick. (The magnetic tape sold in rolls does not work as well as the flat kind)

2.After each activity the student and I will sing the McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it theme” before moving to the next activity.

3.Be sure to read each activity with the student before having them do it.

4. Get creative with the activities! You will notice that my 3rd “activity” is “Quick! Hit the panic button”. If you don’t have a panic button, do something like bounce a ball.

5. Notice that some activities are timed. You can draw a clock on these so students will know the activity is timed.

6. Finally, decide what order you want to do the activities in – or let your student choose – and put the magnets on a magnetic board!

That’s it – lesson accomplished!