I love teaching in a buddy lesson format as it provides lots of opportunities for fun and games together. But I know that it won’t be right for every situation.
If you prefer to teach solo lessons, you can absolutely still include games and make lessons incredibly fun for your students. You just need a few tricks up your sleeve.
⬆️ Listen to the podcast above or keep on reading, whichever fits your style. ↙️
I don’t think I need to persuade you of the importance of games in your lessons…do I? After all, you’re reading an article with “fun factor” in the title.
Just in case, here’s an abbreviated list of some of the wonderful benefits:
- Better retention
- Less repetition
- Faster progress
- More flexible learning
- Greater variety
- More FUN!
That last one might seem like an infinite loop: Piano lessons should be more fun so that they’re more fun…but I’m talking about YOU. When lessons are more fun for your kiddos, you’re going to get to have more fun too.
And you deserve some belly laughs in your life.
So here we go. Here are 7 ways to make lessons more fun when you’re teaching one-on-one.
#1 Get Them Moving
Get students up and moving in time to the beat or dancing out rhythm patterns. Any time you see an opportunity for movement, grab it and get silly right alongside them. You need to get the wiggles out too. 😉
#2 Set a Timer
If you’re playing a game with you vs the student and it’s just not working, try setting a timer so they can compete with themselves. You can take the role of cheerleader instead of opponent and you’ll both have a blast.
If you want more ways to make games work in different levels and scenarios, check out our post about adapting games.
#3 Get the Parent Involved
If the parent is in class with you, get them involved in the learning too. Invite them up to the piano or to join in a game at least for a few minutes of each lesson.
Kids will love this (as long as the spotlight stays on them rather than mum or dad!) and it will also give the parents confidence to join in during home practice.
#4 Switch Roles
Have the student become the teacher. Students love making the teacher move around to music. They also love explaining how games work, how to work out the answer, and spotting you – the teacher – making mistakes.
The bonus is that they get to see the learning process as just that – a process, not something which has to be perfect from the start. And of course their learning will be embedded much deeper when they explain a concept to someone else.
#5 Using Apps
I know screen time might be a concern, but not all screen time is created equally. Introduce your students to apps like Piano Maestro, Note Rush or NinGenius and play together for just a few minutes during the lesson.
Be careful, though, that you don’t let these apps take over or become a reward or treat. Integrate them into the flow of the lesson and only use them when they truly support your learning goals.
#6 Get Creative
Part of having fun is spontaneity. Take turns to come up with stories or describe scenes, then improvise together to match those images.
This is not only fun but a great way to develop your student’s artistry, technique and overall musicianship.
#7 Challenge Board
Introducing challenges into your studio is a great way to get students motivated and feeling a little competitive. In this video, I take you on a tour of my challenge board and tell you how you can start your own, too:
Just because it’s a solo lesson doesn’t mean they can’t interact with the wider studio. Having something to work towards – knowing there’s a fun reward at the end – is very exciting!
Need more help planning lessons which inspire learning and laughter? You’ll love the resources on my Planning Lessons page.
Your One Thing.
Your homework this week is ultra-simple. Just pick one of these 7 ideas and try it. Choose whichever sounds the most fun and/or easiest for you to implement and come back for more when you’re ready!
What are some of the things you do to level-up the fun factor in your lessons?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below. 🙂