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Music Games Provide Structure to Lessons

Have you ever used music games to help provide a structure to your lessons? It's a benefit of music games that isn't discussed very often, but it might provide you with useful ideas.

Are you a planner or a 'whatever happens, happens' kinda person?

Some people take each day as it comes.

They're happy to go with the flow and enjoy whatever happens.

They may even whisper the phrase YOLO (You Only Live Once) as they eat their dessert before their main course.

Other people prefer a more structured day.

They'll wake up and write a To-Do list for the day, ticking off things as they do them (including the task "Write To Do List").

Having a structured day makes them feel secure and settled, as they know what they're wanting to achieve that day.

structure for students

Students are the same!

Some are happy to go with the flow, and others need to know what to expect in each lesson.

These students perform well if their lessons follow the same structure. They can even feel unsettled if they don't know what's going to happen and when.

The structure could be something like:

  • Theory (a worksheet, page in the method book, or puzzle)

  • Playing through a piece / working on something new

  • Music game

You could even write your lesson list on a whiteboard for your students to check off when they've completed a task.

Rosa's story

It took Rosa a little while to settle into piano lessons. She always seemed distracted and would keep asking what we were doing next.

After a few lessons of her asking, I thought I'd check that she was enjoying herself.

"Are you enjoying your lessons, Rosa?"

"Yeah! I love piano! Why?"

"I was just wondering why you always ask what we're doing next. I was worried you're not enjoying yourself."

"I don't want to run out of time. I want to be able to do everything and have time for a game at the end," she explained.

"We can play a game at any time in the lesson! We can start with a game-"

"No! I work hard and then play."

I understood. For Rosa, ending the lesson with a game encourages her to stay focused and do well during the lesson. But she's never sure what she has do before she's "earned" the game.

The next lesson I told her the plan:

"We're going to start with a theory worksheet so we can go over notes and rests. Then I'd like to hear what you've been practicing.

Then we'll work on the next two lines. Then when we've played through those lines three times we'll finish with a game. Sound good to you?"


why a structure can be useful

For some children, a half-hour lesson can seem like an eternity.

Even though they enjoy their piano lessons, it can feel like an age before they get to go home for their tea or to play with their new kitten.

If new tasks and activities keep being thrown their way, with no end marker, there's a risk they'll start flagging.

Then their productivity will falter.

They'll leave their lesson feeling groggy.

But if they know that after they've done a certain number of things or a certain task, they'll finish with a music game, they'll be encouraged to work hard.

Then their lesson will be successful.

Their parents will be happy seeing their child's smiling face at the end of the lesson.

If you were wondering - Rosa's favourite game to finish with is this one:

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