Have you ever been curious about how other piano teachers go about teaching repertoire?
During my early days as a teacher I struggled to teach repertoire in colourful and creative ways. Finding ways to present pieces to students in musically meaningful ways didn’t always come easily.
Ultimately, it was my observation of other teachers’ ideas that inspired me.
I became braver.
Sometimes I felt my ideas were a bit silly. (Sometimes I still do). Yet as I pushed on, I developed a better understanding of how to make the music come to life for my students. The ideas for presenting musical concepts and pianistic skills started to flow more easily.
Fast forward 10 years and I absolutely love cooking up whacky, memorable ways to present piano music to students.
(I mean, who would have guessed that marmalade sandwiches are perfectly suited to swung quavers and tied notes? Ummm… say what?! If you’re curious, your curiosity can be satisfied by watching the video below!)
What’s more, I love it when I get together with other teachers to discuss and explore the possibilities. Collaboration is so powerful: never underestimate it. (And I’ve got to say a big shout-out to Claire, a new-ish piano teacher from County Down, Northern Ireland. We had such a lot of fun concocting and developing the following ideas for Elissa Milne’s Rhyme Time earlier this year!)
TEACHING IDEAS PROJECT
So I’ve committed to doing a 12-month project where I share (with YOU!) teaching ideas for well-loved piano pieces. Therefore, every month for the next 12-months I will explore one piece – starting today!
RHYME TIME BY ELISSA MILNE
I’ve decided to kick-off with a super cute little piece – a jazz miniature from Elissa Milne’s Little Peppers – called Rhyme Time. Currently, this piece is on the new LCM Exams syllabus: Grade 1 Piano Handbook
At this level, it’s not a soft option. Nonetheless, it’s a hugely rewarding piece to play (it sounds fab!) and hopefully the following teaching ideas will provide some inspiration to tackle the challenges.
1. WATCH THE VIDEO
In this video, I present a variety of teaching ideas. Obviously you don’t need to use all of them – simply mix and match with your students as appropriate. There’s also scope to use some of the ideas with other pieces. (If you do this, I’d love you to share with me what you did in the comments below!)
If you want to watch a particular teaching point, the timings are below:
00.00 – Introduction
01.35 – Performance
02.12 – Rhythm
05.55 – Pulse/Metre
06.55 – Writing Rhythm
07.45 – Teaching Resource
10.05 – Pitch
15.35 – Triads
20.15 – 7ths
30.18 – Invitation
2. DOWNLOAD THE FREE PRINTABLES
Mini rhythm cards (Yum!) – download
Mini rhythm cards (Marmalade) – download
Large rhythm cards – download
Large illustrated rhythm cards – download
Write the rhythm (8 bars) – download
Write the rhythm (10 bars) – download
7ths (coda) – download
Illustrations – download
3. GET A COPY OF THE PIECE
On Friday 23 November, the video and resources for another well-loved piano piece will be released… stay curious!
If there’s a piece that you’d like to see teaching ideas and resources for, please let me know in the comments below. I can’t promise that your piece will get chosen, but I will aim to use a few suggestions.
Meanwhile, I’d love to know how you get on with these teaching ideas for Rhyme Time. You can write to me in the comments below or at firstname.lastname@example.org – happy teaching and I look forward to connecting with you soon!
This blog post was written by Sharon Mark-Teggart | Co-Founder & Director of The Curious Piano Teachers