Thursday, March 1, 2018

Piano Technique and Artistry: Group Lesson Activities

For the month of March in my studio, since the focus is on playing more artistically with proper technique as students work toward their Technique Wizard Challenges, I've rounded up and created some group activities to introduce and reinforce these concepts in a memorable way.

After doing some St. Patrick's Day Themed Theory Review Sheets as students arrive, we will dive right into some fun activities focussing on technique including Technique Pattern Bingo, Caterpillar Crawl, Piano Safari Round Robin, Silly Sentences and the "BAD" in BAPDARP. As always, students get to perform a song for the group and this month is a real treat because they get to show off their own Compositions for the upcoming Composition Festival. 
Technique Pattern Bingo

Skills Taught:
Identify Keyboard Skill Patterns by Ear
Name the Technique Motion You See Played
Apply Proper Technique Motions to Music Samples
Students play bingo but focus on a different concept each round.

  • Round 1: Students Try to Spot the Matching Pattern the teacher plays on their Bingo Board (including scales, broken and blocked chords, arpeggios, etc.). The teacher describes and identifies the technique motions used (Soaring Eagle wrist swoop scales, Lion Paw Arm Weight chord, Tall Giraffe Non-Legato Broken Chord, etc.).
  • Round 2: Students watch as the teacher plays the piano pattern.  The student identifies the animal technique motion used.
  • Round 3: Students take turns playing the technique pattern cards using proper motions while others students look for a match on their Bingo board.

Caterpillar Crawl - Click the Link for more Details on a Previous Post 
Teaching Piano Technique with Caterpillar Crawl Music Listening and Movement Activity

Piano Safari Round Robin
Teacher Demonstrates Piano Safari motion and students take turns repeating the pattern in rhythm as they walk in a circle past the piano.

Lion Paw: Students Drop into all the D's with arm weight going down the piano
Zechariah Zebra: Play "Zechariah Zebra" Rhythm on C's going down the piano
Tall Giraffe: Play "Tall Giraffe" Non-Legato on CDE
Kangaroo: Play "Kangaroo" (Beetle-Bug) on all the E's going down the piano
Tree Frog: Play CDE- with Legato Bouncy Arm
Soaring Bird: Play Soaring Bird on CDE Legato

Silly Sentences (In the Manner of the Music Term)
This fun game gets kids laughing as they say silly sentences like, "I thought I could practice piano with spaghetti on my head but my mom said I was wrong!" The catch is, they pick a piano term and must say the sentence in that manner (forte- loudly, ritardando - slow down gradually, etc.) while the other students guess the term.

My previous blogpost BAPDARP explains this practice checklist concept in detail.  It's the key to making a stale sounding song spectacular! I'll review it briefly at group lessons and focus on it more in individual lessons with some bull's eye target challenges focussing on the different elements.

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