When I look around at my local music store, Pinterest, and online, I find so many wonderful ideas to incorporate into my teaching. But even though I scour the net for the best ideas, I tend to always come back to some tried-and-true favorites. Every teacher tends to find their favorites. These are mine. They are the top five tools I use every week during lessons.
Top 5 Piano Teaching Tools
- Colored Magnetic Dots on Magnetic White Board
These are essential for me to do rhythmic work. This will be a blog post or blog series all on its own. These represent the beats, and rhythms are placed above the beats. I learned this process during my Kodaly training and it has been the best way to help my students understand and make sense of rhythm vs. beat.I saw these in Wal-Mart the other day for under $5.
- Susan Paradis Keyboard & Staff (Mailing Labels) Printables
Susan Paradis is a genius! She created two printables that print onto mailing labels. You simply print them onto the mailing labels, peel them off and stick them onto the student’s music or assignment sheet. There are two options available: (1) Keyboard, one octave and (2) music staff both treble and bass clef. I use them a lot with new songs and have kids label where their fingers will start on the keyboard. They have also been handy when teaching a song by rote to reinforce where their fingers start.
- Susan Paradis’ Picture Scales in All Keys
My students struggle to read the scales and play them fluently. These picture scales are fantastic and much easier for the students to get to playing scales. After they are comfortable with playing them, I have them write down the scales on the staff.
- Scales and Chord Book with Teacher Accompaniments
Learning scales and chords out of any sort of context and just as a musical exercise is tedious and unmotivating. It is hard to get students to play them. This book adds a little pizzazz to scale practice. There are wonderful teacher accompaniments with a guide to improvisation for each different scale. The only wish I have is that Faber & Faber published the same accompaniments, but with pictoral representations like I listed in #3.
- Post-It Flags
My students don’t seem to refer to their assignment sheets, so I have resigned myself to the fact that I fill out assignment sheets for myself. But I had to find some way to help them remember what songs were assigned (besides the date written at the top of the page). So to help, we use a lot of the Post-It Flags. I also use them to aid in memory, where I cover up a beat or two at a time in a line when we are working on memorizing it.