August 31, 2015 : By AndreaWhen our family was in Copenhagen 5 years ago we stumbled upon the LEGO store.
A little while back we wrote a very popular post about using Play Dough to teach piano and so we figured it was time to write a lego equivalent! Today we’re sharing 15 ways you can use LEGO to bring some off-the-bench theory fun into your lessons. After reading this you will definitely want to hop on over to your local toy store (or book a flight to Copenhagen for the true LEGO experience) and give it a try!
If you want your piano students to benefit from regular game-based learning subscribe to PianoGameClub and receive 4 awesome piano games every single month! Just had a brainstorm: how about using Lego bricks as a visual aid for how note values correspond to each other? My boy students love using legos for rhythmic dictation (thanks to some inspiration from a blog post by Jen Fink on pianimation I read a few years ago), but I love how you apply them to so many different concepts!
Some time ago I attended a workshop where lego blocks and a board were used for composition. The kids love the use of Lego, and are really excited every week to see what they’ll be doing next! Finally, from the world-leader in piano education, comes an interactive CD-ROM that teaches piano from the very beginning. Divide your purchase into 24 equal payments and receive 24 months of interest free financing.
October 21, 2013 : By TrevorI left a secure government job (teaching) to grow our music studio and devote myself to Teach Piano Today. When parents sign their children up for piano lessons at our studio, they know their children are receiving a holistic education experience that, while centralized around music education, also focuses on improving learning behaviours, increasing self-esteem, developing physical coordination, and teaching discipline and patience. We make parents aware of all of these “additional” benefits because we know that learning piano is not always a walk in the park; and that from time to time students will experience a dip in motivation. Children are inundated with activities these days, and piano lessons are no doubt just one piece of their activity pie. So, starting tomorrow, make sure your communications with parents (emails, facebook posts, websites etc.) share all of those “little extras”, because a great music education involves music… and a heck of a lot more! Not to mention not being greedy – I see music tutors in my town with zero experience charging ?20 an hour wondering why they have no students.
May 14, 2012 : By AndreaAre you a piano teacher who is fighting a battle with the local guitar teacher? It’s time to up your cool factor for those piano students who would rather be Guitar-Star Greigs than Piano-Playing Peters. 3)  Teach Piano Students to Jam – One of the many attractive aspects of playing the guitar is that you can easily jam with others, knowing just a few chords and strum patterns.
Another idea is to teach a pop song to a piano student like you would to a guitar student – have them play the chords and sing along! The instruction book is simply to be your aid and guide; yourself must be the soul that breathes life into it. A good instruction book, however, contains sufficient material to satisfy the wants of all, even the slowest. From the very first lesson train your pupil to think, and discourage all mere mechanical routine work.
Establish friendly relations between yourself and your pupils, for thereby you make your lessons pleasant and more profitable.
We have known not a few pupils that have taken a dislike to music because their first teachers were not what they ought to have been. Strive to be a friend to your pupil, never become a mere taskmaster; neither command nor demand, rather lead than drive.
Some deem themselves above it, others dislike the work and denounce it as too dry and uninteresting. The best teachers should give the first lessons, and there is none so learned that he is above teaching the rudiments of an art like music. November 21, 2013 : By TrevorEvery day we interact with thousands of teachers from around the world through the Teach Piano Today blog and our social networks.
One trend that we’ve noticed for a while now is the increased enrollment of boys in piano lessons.
I’m a big proponent of teaching piano students Christmas music that goes beyond Frosty, Rudolph and Jingle Bells. Nobody likes to hear the same old method book songs over and over again every recital either!
Just because your students are only performing one selection at your recital doesn’t mean they should only learn one piece.
And so with these 6 tips in mind, think like a Gingerbread Man and ease into your Christmas holidays with a recital that is merry and bright….


Walls and walls and walls of bins just begged little fingers to pick and choose treasures they would then pester their parents to purchase. Using any measure of melody, and a variety of blocks labelled A through G, have your students build a stack of blocks that represents the notes in the selected measure.
Have your students create a 4-block stack using their choice of an assortment of blocks labelled A through G.
Start the ear-training process with your littlest ones by having your students listen to you play a set of quarter notes. Play two notes and have your students place blocks on the lines on this page to show whether the two notes are stepping, skipping or repeating. Label each LEGO piece with a scale degree (tonic, supertonic, mediant, subdominant, dominant, submediant and leading tone). Using blocks labelled with note names, have your students build stacks based on scale degrees that you call out. Label your blocks with dynamic markings and have your students arrange them in the order of softest to loudest or vice versa. Label your blocks with a variety of rhythms (quarter, two eighths, half, four eighths, dotted quarter and an eighth, dotted half etc.
Build stacks of rhythms within a given time signature using the labeled blocks and the same printable from above.
In my studio, piano games are a necessary component of any lesson, and a necessary tool that results in better understanding and increased motivation. I teach mostly group classes on a weekly basis, and this would be a great way to incorporate more theory, that they can all do simultaneously and have fun doing it! And in doing so, I opened myself up to the risks associated with economic downturns and government shutdowns. We have experienced first-hand the social, emotional, and intellectual benefits that music brings to the lives of children. So when their children’s enjoyment happens to take a temporary dip, parents have a bunch of “additional” reasons to help their children power through (rather than take the easy exit). Are your piano students being lured away from piano lessons by camo-print straps, flame-emblazoned guitars and the rumble of an amp turned up to 9? Most piano pop arrangements have chords in the LH and melody in the RH, which can be tricky to coordinate. A poor mechanic fails to do good work though he have at his command the best tools, while a skilled artisan succeeds even with poor tools, so the inferior teacher fails with the best book, while a good instructor manages to get along, if necessary, with a poor one. The intelligent teacher will readily see what he needs and what his more gifted pupils may leave unused.
Study the operation of your pupil’s mind, and use every possible means to awaken thought. To cause a pupil to understand a truth, to remember it and to practically apply it, is teaching. Which pupil learns most, he who is eager for his lesson, or he who tries to escape from it f he who loves his teacher, or he who does not care for him?
Many teachers have lost pupils, because they were not capable of entering into the spirit of children, because they were neither cheerful nor forbearing toward those whom they instructed.
The teacher may not be capable of giving such instructions, or he may be too lazy to do so, but he is by no means above it.
In fact, this year alone we have chatted with many teachers who, for the first time in their career, have more boys than girls enrolled at their studios. Over the years we’ve written several important articles to help piano teachers learn strategies to help them teach boys specifically. The following article was recently posted on our blog, but it is worth paying particular attention to if you happen to have a studio full of boys. We use this play dough based piano teaching game with all of our students… but the opportunity to bash balls of play dough happens to be a real hit with the boys in our studio. When teaching boys piano, sometimes event the simplest modifications to your regular teaching practices can make a huge difference.
I too have quite a few young boys who joined my studio lately and my question is: what is a good way to start the lesson of a beginner young boy? For some unique, fresh and exciting supplementary repertoire that’s perfect for recitals check out PianoBookClub!
As a singer, the first few weeks of December are always packed with other concerts, so I usually have it the Sunday before Christmas. Then, using blank staff paper in either the Treble or Bass Clef, have your students then draw the notes they have stacked onto the staff.


Then, have your students name the notes that were played and then find the corresponding labelled blocks and stack them in the correct order. Stepping notes move from a line to a space, skipping notes move from a line to a line, or a space to a space, and repeating notes stay on the same line or space.
Even though I do play games with him, this will be further enforcement since he adores LEGO.
Yet, even when the world economy was taking a major nosedive, our studio not only escaped unscathed… it grew. As much as we believe that our studio is producing better musicians, we also believe that our studio is producing better citizens. By offering to continue at 50% of my regular fee and maintain weekly lessons, I was so respected that they would frequently pay the full amount despite my offer. I would also be interested in gathering a list of piano greats, both classical and rock n’roll greats. You can also make the piece into a duet by having your student play simple chords and you play the melody (or the opposite). No instruction book can be written that shall exactly suit all pupils, for the simple reason that they are not alike gifted, nor alike diligent. Show the lesson in hand from all possible sides, and before proceeding to another, convince yourself that it is thoroughly understood. So it is through experience, not assumption, that I know little boys just can’t sit still. Your student would then stack the matching notes in the same order (E, G, C) and then play the corresponding keys on the piano. Have your students build a 2-block stacks of quarter note + articulation marking and then play their stacks on the piano… using the right articulation for each set of blocks. Your students then must name (or draw) the missing rest value that would complete the measure.
They have one of those really cool Lego stores in NYC right next to Rockefeller Center, and I always love going in there. Includes an interactive song player that let's you see exactly how each song should be played. There are simply too many benefits to the well-being of children brought about by a good music education.
This student is now finishing medical school and I hope he will pay it forward when given the opportunity. It is better that the student arrive at a truth through a course of judicious questioning, than to simply state it for his benefit.
Only that which a pupil can say or write down in his own language, he understands and knows.
I like doing beat clapping or easy finger exercises as the opening of the lesson but am lacking a general concept of what is best to start with.
Use the motivation of the recital date to encourage practice among a variety of pieces, not just one.
Featuring talented clinicians from major publishers, Stanton’s summer choral clinics are a fantastic way to jump-start your school year! Have your student play the inversions as they create them to double-up on the visual learning. I don’t think there are many kids who wouldn’t enjoy Legos in their piano lesson!
Many of my young students love legos, and even bring in things they have built to show to me. If this strikes a chord with you, check out this article for 5 activities to get wiggly boys off of the piano bench. You’ll do yourself a favour too if you choose a date that is not close to Christmas Crazy Town.
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