Saturday, April 20, 2019

Is Your Piano Teaching Curriculum Comprehensive?

Planning a well balanced piano teaching curriculum can be difficult because there are so many elements to consider as students began learning to play the piano.

Foundations of Piano Curriculum

When organizing my curriculum as a new piano teacher, I started making leveled checklists with the basic foundation ingredients that I received in my own piano lessons as a child such as Notereading, Rhythm, Theory, Technique, Ear Training and eventually organized preparatory materials in Piano Teaching Binders
Piano Teaching Organization with Piano Binders: Note Reading Ear Training Rhythm Theory Technique

I teach many of these concepts using games from my Piano Game Resource List or during lab time with Online Activities and iPad apps
Piano Games Organized by Concepts (Rhythm, Note Reading, Ear Training, Chords, etc.) and Level
Browsing various graded piano advancement programs syllabi such as Achievement in Music, Music Progressions, Certificate of Merit, NFMC Festival  Trinity College and ABRSM was helpful for me to discover the scope and sequence of concepts and select the leveling and order that I felt best fit my teaching style and philosophy.

Filling in the Gaps

As my teaching progressed I began to fill in the gaps with other ingredients such as composition, improvisation, rote pieces, accompaniment, arranging and hymn playing activities.
As  I recently took part in the Colourful Keys Curriculum Kickoff Challenge, I identified some areas for improvement and fine-tuned my curriculum plans to include a more balanced approach incorporating Forrest Kinney's 4 Arts model and more hymn preparation activities.  My childhood piano instruction was heavily weighted on the "Interpretation" scale with only a smidgen of composition, arranging and improvising.  But these activities not only make piano lessons more engaging, they can also be used to solidify "traditional" skills of note reading, rhythm and chords in an immersive memorable way.  I like to incorporate an element of creativity into every lesson and that is usually a favorite activity for students.
Following are 10 previous posts with easy ideas to incorporate more creativity into lessons that can shift piano lessons from stagnant to stellar!

Fun Tools for Teaching Composition
Valentine's Composing Activities
Composition 101: 5 Avenues to Begin Composing
Piano Safari Composing
Composing with Flour and Salt
Do-Re-Mi Ice Cream Improv Free Printable
Colors of the Wind Piano Improv for Beginners
Teaching Chords with Hymns (Chord Symbols and Lyric Sheets)
5 Fun Ways for Teaching Theme and Variations Form 
Inspiring Creativity with Variation Cards

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