6 Ways to Encourage Your Students to Enjoy Piano Lessons

by Daniel Patterson

6 Ways to Encourage Your Students to Enjoy Piano Lessons

Adults, millennials, kids, and families alike pick up a grand instrument like the piano with enthusiasm. Still, the initial sparks of excitement often fade with each lesson that passes by. Some lose the motivation to practice at home on a consistent basis, while others find the lessons themselves rather dull. 

While both situations serve as a test of determination and discipline for the students, that doesn’t mean piano teachers can’t fan the flames of their passion with some teaching techniques. Music is fun, and making excitement an element of every class you teach is a wonderful way of making piano lessons enjoyable.

Kids and adults alike need some excitement to inspire them to learn, and as a music teacher, you have a unique role to play in your students’ piano experience. To inspire them to keep learning, try these fun piano lesson tips:

Tip #1: Put Aside the Book Occasionally and Try Some Games

There’s nothing wrong with following a book’s curriculum, but there are times to put it aside as well. 

Take rhythm, for example. Beyond serving as the beat of a song, rhythm is the heart that gives compositions its distinct sound. Learning to identify, feel, and integrate the proper rhythm into the song your students are practicing can be difficult, and it often requires constant repetition. 

However, spending more than five minutes over a single bit can be dragging for your students—adults and children alike. One way to spice up the lessons is to throw in some games, and in this case, the rhythm ball! Here’s how to play:

Step #1: Get any type of bouncy ball—be it something as big as a volleyball or small as a ping pong ball. A larger ball such as a volleyball usually works better, and you’ll see why in Step #2. 

Step #2: Grab a marker and draw different rhythms on the ball. 

Step #3: Pass or bounce the ball to your student while following the beat of a song. 

Step #4: In between the timing behind catching and passing the ball, your students will see rhythm. 

Think of it as a louder and more physically engaging version of counting and clapping. The effects have the same purpose, which is to learn the percussion and rhythm of various musical styles. 

Keep in mind that this only serves as a prompt, but you can change the rules or play a completely different game in your lessons! 

Tip #2: Incorporate Songs Your Students Love 

The song list in your curriculum is set for a reason, especially if you are teaching the basics of classical music to build a strong foundation for their skill. However, that doesn’t mean that squeezing some of their favorite songs—be it a heavy-hitter from Ed Sheeran or the latest Lizzo release. 

Their favorite song is one of the first elements that build their love for music, so tapping into that raw excitement is one of the simplest ways to add an interesting dimension to your piano lessons. 

Playing their favorite after your exercise drills or a run on Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, for instance, can also serve as an excellent motivator.

Tip #3: Don’t Linger Too Long on One Task 

People have short attention spans. Adults may have more discipline to stay focused, but children are on a different spectrum altogether. With that in mind, it’s wise to add variety into your lessons to make each transition more enjoyable to your students. 

Mixing up different activities such as games—from the rhythm ball to guess the composer—in between scales, compositions, and their favorite pieces should add a dynamic tone to your piano lessons.

Tip #4: Add a Twist to Common Songs 

If you’ve been working on a traditional song that just seems to never be played any other way, one way to add an interesting twist to the lessons is to jumble it in a way that it is almost musically unrecognizable. By adding more accent notes, you can also show how changing up the rhythm, melody, and more doesn’t necessarily change the heart of the song so long as you have a strong understanding of the piece’s fundamentals. 

Tip #5: Use Your Voice

Singing is an empowering activity that is naturally fun for people of all ages. Children already sing along to certain songs as they are playing, so tapping into that subconscious act and turning it into an activity can help build a more reliable connection with music. 

You may primarily be a piano teacher, but tap into your inner musician and use your voice to sing with your student. Making up words as you go can also add a refreshing appeal to each practice session as it challenges their minds to think of words that fit within the song. 

Tip #6: Learn Duet Pieces Together 

There’s nothing more engaging than playing alongside your students; that’s why learning some duet pieces together can be an excellent way to inspire your students. Not only does it get your student’s attention, but it also sharpens their awareness as they learn how to keep pace with a bigger ensemble down the line, no matter how simple their lines may be. 

In Conclusion: Incorporating Fun Elements Into Your Piano Lessons Can Help Boost Your Student’s Engagement and Build Up their Skill Along the Way 

Adding fun activities to your piano lessons plays a pivotal role in your students’ musical enjoyment. After all, without a semblance of creativity in your curriculum, piano lessons will feel like nothing more than memorization and repetition. 

Memorization will only get you so far, and it’s easy for a student’s mind to wander when every lesson feels like the last. With that in mind, adding improvisation, exciting activities like games, and more can help establish a more robust technical foundation and connection with your piano lessons. 

Scaling your studio or music school is all about establishing a good reputation, so if you’re looking to learn how to become a piano teacher in Canada and grow your student base, we’re just the ones to speak to! Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you grow your music studio.

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Daniel Patterson is a private teacher, writer, and marketing consultant for music schools. He began teaching in 2004. He co-founded and led marketing operations for a summer music camp that sees over 200 children each summer.

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