We all know kids can find it hard to sit still and concentrate. So how on earth are we going to get them to sit still long enough to learn piano?
Here we share our top tips to help you turn your piano lessons from a dull chore to an absolute pleasure.
Make Theory Engaging
We know theory is a fundamental part of learning the piano. But why does it have to be so boring and frustrating? Learning to read and understand music is tricky, but we can make it easier and more enjoyable by explaining these concepts in a way kids can understand and relate to. Putting the FUN into fundamental.
At KC & Friends, we’ve come up with a whole cast of colorful characters to play the role of each note. They’re our piano friends, here to help explain difficult concepts in a way that is appealing and memorable to kids.
In our KC & Friends books, kids first meet goofy R Hand and the more serious L Hand, their fellow students, and the Teacher that will guide them through the lessons. Then, as level one and two progresses, kids are gradually introduced to each of the notes with the help of funny and creative cartoon strips that explain the theory in a way that children will truly understand. Because we believe that when you’re laughing, you’re learning.
Foster Their Creativity
Kids can be fantastically creative and inventive, in ways that many of our adult brains can no longer fathom. We believe that learning piano should foster that creativity, rather than stifle it. Practically speaking, that means encouraging kids to write and play their own songs. Or to play with and adapt existing songs to make them their own. Something that they enjoy playing and feel a connection to.
Imperfections are welcome – encouraged even! We believe that playing the piano is art, and art is about getting messy. The point is to enjoy expressing yourself. And we believe that through that enjoyment, kids are more likely to stick with their lessons and improve over time.
It’s no secret that kids love playing games. When it comes to learning piano, games are an invaluable teaching resource, allowing teachers to introduce concepts and practice technique in a natural and fun way, that doesn’t really feel like boring old learning at all.
Not sure where to start? At KC & Friends we’ve come up with some amazingly fun and interactive games to help kids – and silly adults too – learn piano. Play with us!
Make a Connection
It’s not just about teaching kids to play piano. It’s about teaching them to express themselves too. And kids need to feel relaxed and comfortable to fully express themselves.
Be a friend to your students. Pay attention to what they’re interested in, and you’ll be able to make more interesting lessons. And if you make the effort to connect with your students, you’ll enjoy teaching the lessons more too.
Teach Songs They’ll Love
There may be virtuosos who get their kicks out of mastering Chopin and Stravinsky, but most kids aren’t going to get much out of laboriously learning classical tunes or old-fashioned ditties. They’re more likely to enjoy learning fun and catchy songs that they can sing along to and get excited about.
Depending on the age of the kids you’re teaching and the level they’re playing at, that could be anything from nursery rhymes to classic pop songs and current chart-toppers. Ask your students about what songs they love and then teach them how to play their favorites.
Learn at Their Pace
When teaching kids, it’s important not to rush things. Push too hard too soon and you could overwhelm the kids with too much information. And if they are struggling to understand the concepts, they may feel confused and frustrated and start dreading piano lessons. Which is exactly what we don’t want.
That’s why we break our music theory into smaller chunks that are easier for kids to grasp. In our FUNdamentals books, we introduce each concept with a new comic and then expand on what we’ve learned using games that help us practice our new skills. That means kids have the time and space they need to let the new knowledge sink in.
Mix it Up
All theory and no play makes for a very dull piano lesson. Likewise, focus too much on freestyling without covering the basics and your kids won’t have the foundations they need to grow and learn and get creative. That’s why it’s important to mix it up when you’re teaching.
Think of your lesson as a delicious meal with lots of different courses:
- start with a conversation, to connect with your students and find out how they’re doing
- teach them a tidbit of theory, in an engaging way
- let kids practice what they’ve learnt and get a feel for how the theory translates into music
- play games that encourage the kids to relax and have fun, while reinforcing the skills they’ve learnt
- foster their musical creativity with some freewheeling play and inventive songwriting
- finish with some feedback to find out what your students enjoyed and what they didn’t, so they keep coming back for more
Interested in teaching the KC & Friends’ Method?
Explore our learning library to find tips and tricks to help you teach our method, broken down by level.
Or visit our shop to browse our collection of books and goodies.
Filed as: Teacher Resources