Do you ever use music games to motivate your piano students?
Sometimes it can make all the difference and turn a grouchy kid into a raring-to-go student.
We All Need motivating
We've all had that kind of day. You know, when your get-up-and-go has got-up-and-gone.
Those days when that box set is more appealing than taking your dog for a walk.
But he's sitting looking at you with those puppy dog eyes, and Netflix has just asked you that judgemental question, "Are you still watching?"
So, you pull yourself together, knowing that The Office will be there when you get back, and the little pooch will love you when you utter that special word, "walkies."
And once you're outside, the fresh air wakes you up, the sun gives you a warm hug, and you swear your fluffy friend just smiled at you, and you're glad you motivated yourself.
Your students are the same.
After a long and hard day at school, all they want to do is sit and vegetate while watching YouTube or playing Minecraft.
But when they get going and music is flowing from their fingers, they're glad they're doing something more enjoyable with their time rather than spending yet another hour watching TikTok.
Sometimes, though, they need a little motivation to get them to that point, and a game can be just what you need.
Charles And The Motivational Win
My normally perky student, Charles, trudged into his lesson at 3:30, straight after walking over from school.
"I've just had the hardest maths test ever," he sighed.
I could tell from the look on his face he didn't think he'd get a good mark.
I could also sense that if he tried to play his piece straightaway that probably wouldn't go well either, and he'd end up feeling more dejected.
"Well, I'm in the mood for a game, so let's forget about maths for a bit and see if you can beat me," I said, putting 'Tall Dinos, Snoring Dinos' on the table.
After a few turns, the maths test was a distant memory. Charles was now determined to beat me.
This particular game only uses bass clef note reading cards.
I'd chosen this game as this was his weaker area, and I was holding back on helping him too much.
"I win!" he announced, as he moved his Lego figure to the final space.
I clapped and said, “You know what you just did?"
“Yeah, beat you!"
"Well, yes, but all those notes were in bass clef, and I hardly helped you!"
"Were they?! Oh, I'm amazing!"
“Agreed. Let's hear your amazing piece now!"
Charles walked happily to the piano and proceeded to play his piece (very well, I might add!)
Using games as motivation at the beginning of lessons can lead to students performing better in their lessons.
If after Charles had told me about his horrible maths test, I'd asked him to play his piece, he would have still had the bleugh feeling from school. He would have been unenthusiastic about playing the piano, which would have led to frustration and his musical progression being hindered.
Taking him out of things for a few minutes (but while still getting him to practice his note-reading) gave him downtime, which led to motivation for the rest of the lesson.
If you have a student arrive in a down/grumpy/"meh" mood this week, try pulling out a music game and easing them into their lesson!