COMING BACK TO PIANO LESSONS AFTER A LONG BREAK. IS IT EASY FOR YOUR STUDENTS?
Beyond doubt summer break is essential for both teachers and students. For 2 months we are on vacations, relaxed in the beach or in the country spending some time with friends and family. After that we must get back to full time piano lessons. This can be a bit of a shock to both teachers and students, don’t you think so?
Summer break is the longest break piano students take during the year (approx.. 2 full months).
Frankly, I don’t expect my students to practice and learn new pieces during this long break but I definitely encourage them to play old and well known pieces they enjoy.
In such wise they won’t forget the pieces they learned through the year and will keep exercising their hands and fingers.
BUT what happens when you start the piano lessons in September and you realize that the students haven’t practiced at all for 2 whole months?
How do you react when some of your students haven’t touched a single piano key for so long? How do you bring them back to their practicing routine?
There are some ways to prepare ourselves and our students well in advance for the coming back. In my post Back to piano lessons after summer break you will find some useful tips and inspirations.
Additionally what I mention here is especially for the students that had a quite long break that took them a few steps back from where they were.
Don’t focus on what has been forgotten.
Students that took a huge distance from piano activities are a few steps back. They might have forgotten some theory like note names, note values, key signatures etc. Others might have forgotten how to play their scales and arpeggios and some others might not be able to remember how to play a piece they learned the year before.
How do you handle it?
Well, take a big breath and calmly repeat what has been forgotten and be sure that it won’t take long till students learn everything again.
Use educational activities
Introduce more ‘off the bench’ activities like music games. Give your students small breaks off the piano while learning or remembering music in a different way.
Play Musical Jenga or other music board games.
Read more about educational music games in the post Music Board Games, Benefits and a Guide.
Another off the bench activity can be a musogram.
Giving your student a musogram built on a popular tune can be fun and at the same time will activate the student’s music abilities.
You can read more about musograms on the post Musograms, graphic symbols for music.
In our shop you can also purchase Bach’s Badinerie Musogram.
Another activity off bench can be Pop Its. Read how to use pop its during a piano lesson in the post Pop Its For Piano Lessons.
Add improvisation activities especially for the first lessons.
First lessons can be a bit overwhelming for students. Adding improv activities in the first couple of lessons will bring their enthusiasm back and they will get to their piano routine easily.
Teach new repertoire
Start the new school year with piano pieces from new books with fresh repertoire.
Having new books is exciting for the students but giving them a piece that is not in their books is not only welcome, but it is also motivating.
Students always have a smiley face when they start interesting new pieces that are off the curriculum.
You may choose classical. Jazz, ragtime , pop or something else. The style doesn’t matter as long as the student is happy with the new piece.
My students love to learn Fur Elise, Bella Ciao, Katiousha, The entertainer, Disney soundtracks and many more.
Yet apart from these popular pieces I introduce other compositions by new composers.
Lately I’m teaching pieces from two new books by Angeline Bell that I also reviewed in a recent blog post. My students really loved the new repertoire.
You can read my review on both books in the post My Lyrical Notebook and My Quirky Notebook- A review
Students are doing their best to get back to their program although it is not that easy especially after a long period of time. As their piano teachers we must support them by being patient with them and adjust those first lessons according to their skills and needs.
I wish everyone a new academic music year!
Let me know your thoughts about your coming back.