With all the technology available to use today, it’s easy to forget about the simplest piano teaching tools. Sometimes though, the most modest tools can make the biggest difference.
If you’re looking for a gift for a fellow music teacher (or a teaching gift for yourself) I hope you find some inspiration in these 5 piano teaching tools. It doesn’t have to be fancy to be fabulous and fun.
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Teaching Tool No.1: Post-it Flags
I use the post-it flags to mark…
- Pieces to be practiced
- Favourite pieces (to keep on their Anytime, Anywhere, Anyone list)
- Theory pages to complete
- Theory concepts to revise or revisit
- Practice sections on the score (each section gets a new colour)
- Anything that needs extra attention on the score such as a missing dynamic, accidental, wrong note, rhythm issue, etc.
- Sticking to keys to facilitate scale playing in the beginning stages (especially contrary motion scales)
Can you tell I have lots of different shapes and colours? It’s quite the collection.
Teaching Tool No.2: Puzzle Erasers
Credit goes to Diane Hidy I believe for noticing that these Iwako puzzle erasers fit perfectly on the piano keys. I have a bunch of these adorable little erasers but the hedgehogs are probably my favourites.
Plus they make wonderfully cute game tokens for theory games like this one.
Teaching Tool No.3: Erasable Highlighters
I love using colour to mark my students music, however exam boards don’t really approve. These are fantastic to use when I know all that colour needs to be gone for an exam or other performance.
Teaching Tool No.4: Tambourine
If you don’t already have a collection of rhythm instruments in your studio, the tambourine is the perfect place to start.
This is the perfect piano teaching tool for students struggling with rhythm or those who are reluctant to count rhythms out. Using a tambourine is so much more fun than clapping.
In my studio when also use the tambourine to practice firm fingertips. Tapping fingering out on a hard surface is a great way to concentrate just on the technique. And it’s more giggly when that hard surface shakes and rattles. 😉
Teaching Tool No.5: Animal Stickers
Many piano teachers use stickers to reward students or to mark pieces as complete. But that’s not all I use stickers for.
The littlest stickers are also a fantastic way to mark a student’s score. Animal stickers in particular capture young student’s imagination and get them involved with an otherwise abstract musical concept. These animal face stickers should fit nicely between the staff in many beginning piano books – click here to see them on Amazon.
I’ve used a lion sticker to remind students to play loudly, hearts to signify steady beats and bunnies to tell students to hop up to the higher keys. It’s incredible the difference these little bits of imagery can do for retention of details during practice time.
Try asking your students if these ideas don’t come easily to you. It will mean even more if you get your student to pick out the sticker that will help them remember a missing detail or a correction. As Benjamin Franklin said:
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
Bonus Tool No. 6: Triangular Pencils
I tried to keep this list short and sweet but I did want to give a quick shout out to triangular colouring pencils too. These are wonderful for my youngest students as they promote a better grip than standard round pencils. (And the more drawing young kids do, the faster their dexterity will develop.)
Do you have a favourite piano teaching tool?
Anything unusual that comes in handy during your teaching? A unique trick for an everyday item?
Tell me all your wild and wonderful piano teaching tools in the comments.