Category Archives: Motivational Ideas

Supercharge Your Piano Studio This Year With This one Easy Tip

Supercharge your piano studio this fall with this one idea and see it grow.I think all piano teachers discover at some point that students dread theory books. Early in my career I found that it was not worth the effort to keep re-assigning theory pages, because students weren’t doing them. Instead I started looking for another way to teach theory through games.

I found that students loved learning through games and were effectively learning theory without even realizing it, better than with theory pages! So I started using games every week instead of giving theory books.  Planning a music theory game every week has helped my students not only become better musicians but also they look forward with excitement to every lesson. Parents then see how much their children are learning while enjoying their lessons and are quick to refer other families to my studio.  Though I started out with the goal of teaching music theory in a fun and engaging way, I reaped so many other advantages from this idea. Student’s love taking lessons and rarely if ever want to quite piano lessons, so I increased my retention rate, and my studio has grown because parents want to share how much their children are enjoying their lessons.

Using Music Games in the Piano StudioI personally think there are two keys to including theory games successfully in piano lessons.   First is using a different game every week. The game can still be reviewing the same concept but if we as teachers always use the same 5 games, then students are eventually going to become board. Lessons have become predictable. The second valuable key to successfully including games in lessons is planning ahead. I personally like to plan the skills I want to teach and plan the accompanying games for an entire semester in either August or December. By planning ahead I know what I need to have prepared for each lesson and will not be scrambling at the last minute to gather the necessary games.  The second benefit of planning ahead helps make sure that I am not needing to invent a game that a student will enjoy and will teach the skills I want them to learn all at the last moment.  Need more game resources for your students? Subscribe and receive a new free game each week.


How have you used games in your studio? Which games are your student’s favorites?




Making Repetitions in Piano Practice Fun

As teachers we all know that a student is going to need to practice a new concept several times if they’re really going to learn it, besides isn’t this half of practicing?  But how do you get young children to understand this concept?  Try this.

Get a set of plastic animals.

The goal is to collect 5 animals (variation: Collect as many as you can throughout the lesson.)

Each time a child plays the section correctly they choose an animal to place on the piano. Young students love this and I no longer hear any complaints about repetitions!20130818_KDS_02364

Favorite animal sets have been


Snakes, Lizards and Frogs



Sea Animals


Dogs and cats (each dog is a different breed)20130818_KDS_02359

Go get your own set of animals this week and try this!
















Keep your Students looking forward to their lessons with this simple idea

One on the things my younger students (ages 4-9) enjoy is the weekly prize box.  Each week they are given a simple assignment to complete.  If they complete the assignment by the following weeks lesson they are rewarded by picking out of the prize box. I have given assignments from practicing 5 days a week to anything related to their lesson.  Students are motivated when the realize that they don’t get to select a prize with out completing their assignment.  This is such a simple tool to add to your studio but adds just that extra touch to lessons and can set your studio apart.  You will be amazed at how young students are affected by having a prize as a reward.  I have found it valuable to occasionally switch the choices I have in my prize box.


Usually I include:Looking Forward to piano lessons


Coloring Sheets

Recipes (choose ones directed for children. I am always amazed at how popular these are)

Instructions for drawing animals etc.

Mazes and hidden pictures

Instructions for simple paper crafts


Occasionally I addLooking forward to piano lessons

mini erasers (these are usually a huge hit and only cost about $1 for a pack)

Holiday themed Stickers

Once a year I usually include candy for a fun surprise.


Try to pick coloring sheets and stickers based on what is popular at the time.  For example if I know I have several students that like a recent animated film produced I will look for coloring sheets on this theme.

This only takes a few minutes but can add a nice simple addition to your studio that doesn’t cost much.

Need Suggestions on recipes and other resources to print for prize box? Check out my Pinterest board on this theme.

Motivating Students