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If you are a piano teacher who ever teaches kids to play piano, chances are you can relate to how tough it can be to engage kids in the piano lessons. For many piano teachers out there, getting your kid students to pay attention to the piano lessons can be a real struggle, especially if your students are preschoolers who are not interested in taking piano lessons at all. The piano teacher, in that case, can essentially become more of a babysitter than a full-fledged teacher.
The key to successful piano lessons for kids lies in the hands of the piano teacher – whether he or she wants to turn the lesson into something fun and enjoyable for everyone, or to turn the lesson into a chore of which kids constantly dread. That’s why a new approach has become more and more popular, in which young learners will learn the piano through kid piano games, which are essentially piano lessons in the form of fun, engaging activities.
Before we move onto our list of creative kid piano games, let’s first look at some key principles that make the games work. The world our kids are living nowadays is in stark contrast to the world we used to live in. Technology has transformed our lives in an unprecedented way, which ultimately impact almost every aspect of our daily life.
In music education in general and piano teaching in general, there have been major changes as well. Kids nowadays are more drawn to various distractions such as TVs, tablets, and smartphones than ever. Therefore, in one way or another, piano lessons seem to fail to compete with technological advancement. And it calls for a shift in teaching methodology and a more refined approach to engage kids in piano lessons.
To simply put it, the approach is to put kids at the center of the lessons filled with tailored kid piano games to make a difference from conventional piano lessons. Below are some principles for successful kid piano games that can be extremely helpful for piano teachers everywhere.
Kids love funny little stories based on true events. When they first familiarize themselves with the piano, try making references to true little stories of famous people such as how Mozart used to play the piano with his nose. That way you can involve them more in the piano lessons and attract their attention.
There is one confirmed truth about kids: they can be pretty active and love to move around. So instead of asking them to stick to boring theoretical lessons, incorporate a fun kid piano game that makes them move around, dance around and sing along. In case you are running out of ideas for hilarious kid piano games, check out the latter part of this post for a list of all-time favorite kid piano games that everyone will love.
Boredom can easily kill any kid’s motivation to continue with piano lessons, therefore, be prepared to challenge your students with easy, medium and difficult “goals” so that they have a feeling of accomplishment and an incentive to try. Give them rewards when they make it through the challenge. Never underestimate the energy and creativity of kids.
Don’t just make them learn any piece of music without understanding the meaning of the song. Always explain to them the message and meaning of the song they are playing so that they can be connected to the music. Keep the message simple and easy to relate. You’ll be amazed at their progress.
The time when students are supposed to obey and do what the teacher asks without question is already in the past. Passive learning is no longer considered effective. Thus, teachers should adopt a different mindset. When you teach the kids to play the piano, think of them as your little friends and treat them with respect. You will be surprised to see how much you can learn from them.
Let them decide the pace of the lesson and assume the role of a guide to help them reach their desired destination. Some kids are more sensitive to music and progress faster than others but don’t make them compete against each other. Allow them to grow at their own pace.
One common “mistake” of many piano teachers are insisting their students complete all the theoretical lessons before teaching them songs to play. But most kids will start losing their interest after a couple of theoretical sessions. The better way to do this is to show the results.
For instance, when they start learning about basic notes and keys, start teaching them to play simple or popular songs such as “Happy birthday.” When they see that their efforts are paying off, they will be more interested in the lesson.
Technology can be incredibly beneficial if you know to use it right. There are many helpful applications for piano learning online. There are also plenty of online resources for piano activities for young learners. Therefore, do not hesitate to incorporate technology into your piano teaching. Don’t hold back, open up your mind to new ideas and you will be able to grow as a teacher as well.
Teaching piano for children can be both a challenging and rewarding task, but thankfully, there are quite a few fun piano games to play to turn the seemingly boring piano lessons into enjoyable memories. Kids love having fun. Therefore, the more fun your lessons are, the more interested your students will become. Below are our favorite teacher-approved piano games that any kid will love and benefit from. They will not only be able to have a good time but also improve their piano skills.
This activity is a perfect exercise for beginners when they need to learn and memorize the notes on the keyboard. This game works best for solo lessons. However, you are also encouraged to try this game with a small group of young learners, and they can take turns to play this game.
The best thing about this game is that your student will have an opportunity to learn to memorize the names of each note with more fun rather than learning note by note in the parrot fashion. Kids will be encouraged to remember notes faster through this game. Isn’t it a win-win for both the kids and you as a teacher yourself?
The goal of the game: Help kids learn and remember the notes on the keyboard
Things to prepare: Some coins, stickers, markers
Target students: Beginners
How to play:
Before the game, you need to put stickers on one side of the penny. On the stickers, you can write the note names (A through G) with markers or buy store-made stickers, depending on your resources
When the lesson starts, you can put the coins face down on the corresponding notes so that your students can’t peek at the names. You can try arranging the notes in different orders.
Ask your students to say the name of the notes written on the coins and then flip the coins to check if they get the names right or not
Repeat the process until all the coin get flipped, and all the names are spelled out correctly
This activity can be a great introduction to pianos and is considered to be a simple yet highly effective. When kids first start taking piano lessons, they will feel intrigued by the sounds the piano makes, and to capture their interest and attention at this very first stage; you need to make the piano appealing to them by allowing them to play with it rather than take it too seriously.
One easy yet fun-promising activity you can try at the beginning of the lesson is to let your students play the piano by ear. You can play a random uplifting melody and let your students experiment with the piano sounds. They can either try copying the way you play or create their very own sounds. There are many ways for you to be creative with this kid piano game. Depending on the level of your students, you can ask them to sing along with the melody you play and ask them to recreate the melody later on.
No matter how you want this activity to be, it can be an excellent starter for your piano lessons and can be used as warm-up exercises for each lesson.
The goal of the game: Develop kids’ responses and sensitivity to sounds and music familiarize kids with the way the piano works
Things to prepare: A couple of simple and uplifting songs, digital music players (optional)
Target students: from beginners to intermediate students
How to play:
Start by playing some random or catchy song on the piano or play it on a digital music player that you have
Ask the students to try playing it by ear to recreate as much of the song they hear as possible
Don’t push them too hard to make the exact sounds, encourage them to be creative and have fun while playing with the keys
After they try playing by ear for several times, you can help by showing them the correct keys and together you all can sing along the tune
When children start learning to play the piano, they are often put off by the idea of having to memorize all the keys of the piano and sight reading. To motivate the kids to overcome the challenge of key memorization, there are a few games using keyboard that can boost their ability to recognize different keys of the piano.
The goal of the game: Help kids recognize and remember piano keys more easily
Things to prepare: Cute plastic animals/toys
Target students: from beginners
How to play:
Start the lesson by placing two animals/toys several white keys apart from each other. For example, you can place a toy bunny and a bear or a red car toy and a yellow car toy.
Ask your students to help the bunny or the red car to escape from the chase of the bear or the yellow car. Ask them to name the keys and how many keys they have to move to escape successfully
You can ask two students to move the bunny and the bear and make up a story about them moving through keys to chase each other
Students are expected to have fun while learning to recognize different piano keys quickly
Another exciting kid piano game you can ask your class to play is the spelling game, which encourages kids to learn the piano notes. This is one of the best games using keyboard which can be a starter session for children.
The goal of the game: Help kids learn the piano notes
Things to prepare: None
Target students: Beginners
How to play:
Start by playing notes on the piano to spell out a simple word, for instance, “DAD.”
Ask your students if they know what you have just spelled with your piano
Repeat several times with other words
To take this game to a more difficult level, try asking your students to close their eyes while you play the notes, and challenge them to play the same notes and tell you the word you spelled.
Both the teacher and students can take a turn to play the notes and challenge the other to spell out that hidden word.
Students will be able to remember the notes faster and link the notes with memorable words.
This game aims to help students learn to improvise and improve their knowledge of how white and black notes differ from each other. Unlike the games mentioned above, this game is more geared towards intermediate learners. This game works best as a warm-up exercise or when your students are feeling a little bored during difficult lessons.
The goal of the game: Familiarize kids with improvisation
Things to prepare: None
Target students: Intermediate
How to play:
Start by playing a chord progression and then ask your students to do their improvisation completely on white or black notes. For instance, play a song in C major and ask your students to improvise on white notes only.
Repeat this game a few times per week until the students master their skills of white and black notes
This game can be complemented with unstructured playing session, in which the students are allowed 100% freedom in playing around with all the notes. They are free to make up their songs and play the way they want for at least 5 minutes per week to encourage their creativity. Just like when you doodle with no specific aim, playing the piano freely with no predetermined outcome or piano sheets can be both fun and helpful for students.
This is yet one of many fun piano games to play and learn at the same time. The game aims to help young learners remember piano keys quickly. This is a very simple game which can be done with minimum efforts, but it’s a perfect option for kids who love to move all the time.
The goal of the game: Help learners remember piano keys correctly
Things to prepare: Seven plastic balls (choose the small size that can fit a child’s hand), color marker, one bag or basket to hold the balls, a bag of sweets as rewards
How to play:
Use the marker to write each letter of the musical alphabet (A to G) on each ball. Then you put all the balls in the basket or bag that you prepare.
Get your students to stand in a line on the other side of the piano
Let one of the students grab a ball and call out the letter, for instance, “Letter B.”
The first student in a line will have to run to the piano to find the corresponding key by tapping on the key while others count from 1 to 7. If he or she fails to find the correct key, he or she can go back into the line and let the next one in line try
The one who taps the right key can have a piece of sweets/candies as a reward. Make sure that at the end of the session all of your students have sweets as rewards.
We hope that with our list of favorite kid piano games above, you will be able to turn your piano lessons into exciting sessions filled with joy and laughter. Teaching kids piano can be a daunting task. However, it can be a truly rewarding experience if you know how to add fun to it. Feel free to experiment with the ideas above to come up with your fun piano games to play.