TIPS FOR PIANO TEACHERSUsing the Anybody Can Play PIANO App
The Anybody Can Play PIANO app can be a great help with young students if you are actually trying to teach them how to play the piano rather than just having general music. The app becomes an infinitely patient at-home tutor for the child. All parents have to do is make the app easily available for their child.
Group lessons work very well for young students. Three at a time is very easy when working at the piano because they all fit on the bench at one time! I also tended to schedule overlapping lessons. Three students had their “piano time” for twenty minutes. Then three more students arrived and the next twenty minutes was group activity time. Then, the first 3 students left and the remaining 3 students had their “piano time”. Piano time is primarily based on what the students have done at home with the app….their “assignment”.
The first song on the app is Tick Tock and uses only 2 fingers. So for the group activities, sing, color, tap…..all the things that are on the Lesson One videos. Use parts of the videos in lessons if you wish, but only if you cannot do the activity yourself.
If you are wondering why I use color coded fingers, just read the short article on the BLOG page: Why Finger Colors? In fact, it would be good to read all the articles since they all tend to be answers to questions.
There are many things that can be done during “piano time” with the 3 students even before they can play a song, for instance:
1. Using your right hand blue finger, play the white key in between the two black keys that are standing close together. (Or, use the key name if they are at that point.) Do this one child at a time. Let the children help each other if help is needed or desired. Place the 2 Black Key Group card on the music rack if needed.
2. Let a child choose a key and finger, then have the others touch the same key in a different place on the piano with the same color finger.
3. Using both blue fingers, play…..
4. Using both green fingers, play…..
5. Using our right hand red finger, let’s all play together on ….. “One, two, ready, play”
6. Using our left hand red finger………
7. Have students play the “current” song one at a time with the others checking for correct finger pattern, good hand position, etc. (Children tend to be quite complimentary….very encouraging to the others!)
8. Have the students play a trio one-handed or two- handed if they are able. Then switch places and play the trio again. Then switch places again so they all get to play the song in every place. Hmmmm - all played it 3 times!
9. Have students play a review song…
10. Have students play first with one hand, then the other hand, then with both hands together.
Fingering, patterning, rhythm, reviewing, paying attention, memorizing, helping…….. Students are learning so much! Just keep the lesson “going” and keep the students occupied at all times. Have back up plans.
Young students can really brighten your day! And….the younger they start, the longer they tend to stay in lessons. Playing becomes an enjoyable part of their day and they don’t want to stop.
Remind parents not to “worry” about practice time. There are many ways to “remind” a child to use the app.
-> Parents can ask how to get to a particular song.
-> Parents can play the song and have the child look to make sure they don’t make a mistake.
-> Parents can play a game where they DO make a mistake.
-> One parent can have the child show the other parent how well he/she plays a song.
-> Parents need to get excited when a child can play through an entire song without a mistake.
-> Parents need to reward children for learning a song? knowing finger colors? playing both hands together?
I always told the children to try to remember to play the current song and a couple others (when they start having a repertoire) as many times as they are old….not necessarily all at the same sitting…just sometime during the day. One of my students turned 4 and said, “Oh no! Now I have to play everything FOUR times!” I told her she should be lucky she wasn’t my age and she said, “Yah! 24!” We all laughed. She didn’t know I had children older than 24 at the time!
I always had parents stay for the lesson if at all possible. They were generally very courteous and quiet, but one time a daddy came instead of mommy for his four-year-old child. She was struggling with a contrary motion song. He suddenly told her she needed to practice and that he had thought of taking piano lessons himself and HE would practice and be able to play that song much better then she could.
I looked at her and asked whether we should show daddy how to play the song she was working on so he could practice it at home since he said he was thinking about taking piano lessons….so we did and he paid really good attention.
The next week her daddy said he had something to say to her again and had waited on purpose in order to say it at the lesson. He said he never dreamed playing the piano required so much skill until he tried to learn that song himself and was absolutely amazed that she did so well and apologized to her over and over again in front of everyone! She was thrilled. So, parents can be taught things too!
Just be creative. Let the app “practice” with the child at home. Do other things in the lesson. Keep all the children involved all the time. Try to have something they get to take home after each lesson like an activity sheet.
Tuition + materials fee Look over the activity sheets and games. Decide whether you want to make a binder for each student. Decide whether you want to laminate games, cards, sheets, etc. Remember to charge for the time it takes you to make materials.
These are things you have to put into your “materials fee” part of payments. The initial material’s fee has to cover everything a child gets that first month. After that, have a set fee that covers what you plan to use and give to the children on a lesson basis. I even had a tee shirt for the children when they learned a certain song…guess I need to design another one!
Additional info about the Anybody Can Play PIANO APP
A computer or tablet is needed that uses Windows 10. A touch screen can be used with or without an attached keyboard or controller. An attached MIDI keyboard (with sound turned off) or controller (as small as 25 keys) is needed with a non-touch screen.
To subscribe to the Anybody Can Play PIANO app in Windows 10 click here.