Five Things Every Piano Teacher Needs When Working With Preschoolers

I hope you all are having a wonderful start to the New Year. After a refreshing Christmas break, January was full of adding new students to my teaching schedule and keeping up with existing students. I have been so busy starting new piano students and finishing up the new practice incentive for my students that blogging took a back seat for a while. But now I am back, and I have some great new games and products coming this year to give you the resources you need to make this year a fun and exciting for your students!

Last fall I wrote a post on the 5 things I like to always have handy when teaching elementary age students. Though I use some of the same resources in working with preschool students, there are many other resources I like to have on hand with younger students that I do not use with older students as much.

If you are just starting to teach preschool students or are looking for some new fun activities for your preschool students, here are a few ideas to get you started. If you don’t yet teach preschool students I highly recommend considering working with this younger group. They can be so much fun!

What every piano teacher needs when working with preschool students.

Buckets and Beanbags: One of the most inexpensive resources I purchased last year was a set of buckets and beanbags. I have found an infinite number of uses for the buckets and beanbags but one of my student’s favorites is when we play the listening toss game. On each bucket I place a picture of what they are listening for in the music I play such as happy and sad (Major/Minor), Slow and Fast, Legato and Staccato, or Piano and Forte. Whatever my students hear, they then put a bean bag in the correct bucket. Though this is such a simple game, my students love to toss the bean bags in the correct bucket and they are learning basic music analysis skills all students need.

High and Low Picture Cards: At every preschool students first lesson (and subsequent lessons), I introduce the concept of high and low sounds with my set of high and low picture cards. My set of high and low card are pictures of objects high in the sky or low down on the ground. I have had students pick a card from my hand and play either high or low notes on the piano and I have hidden the cards around the room and had them find and come play notes that are high and low on the piano. Additionally I have taped the high and low cards on the buckets mentioned above and played a high and low listening game. These are just a few of the games that can be played with a set of high and low cards.

Dessert Rhythms: One of the most popular resources in my studio is dessert rhythms. Students love saying the names of their favorite foods while learning about rhythm. With dessert rhythms, I can now successfully teach young students to correctly clap sixteenth notes and other complex rhythms with success. Want to know more about the very popular dessert rhythms resource? Check on this post here and this here.

Staff board: I find I use my staff board just as frequently with preschool students as with elementary students. My preschool students first learn about high and low, going up and down, and same versus different on the staff. After students have what I refer to as general staff awareness skills I begin to introduce the names of the lines and space.

Vinyl Keyboard: My vinyl keyboard is second in popularity with my students to dessert rhythms. Not only can students move around on the keyboard when learning to differentiate high and low sounds, but I also find my vinyl keyboard to be a valuable resource in teaching students about the names of the keys on the piano. With just a simple set of music alphabet cards, I can ask students to put them in the correct order on the vinyl keyboard. After my students have put the cards in the correct order, students love when I ask them to close their eyes while I mix-up the cards. When students open their eyes, I then ask them to find what is wrong and if they can fix it. In fact, any game that asks preschool students to close their eyes is sure to be popular!

3 Thoughts on “Five Things Every Piano Teacher Needs When Working With Preschoolers

  1. Thank you so much for this post! I got a ton of ideas to try out. 🙂 I love teaching preschoolers, but I don’t have any right now. I think many of these ideas will be awesome for elementary students too. As long as it’s not too cutesy! For the high and low picture cards, think airplanes/jets/helicopters and cars/semis/trucks/quads for boys. Girls would love butterflies/birds/dragonflies/sun and flowers/bunnies/kittens. You really got my ideas flowing! Thanks again!

  2. Hello! I’m new to your site, I came across your article in the Piano Bench magazine! 🙂

    When you recommend the dessert rhythms there isn’t a link where you say to click “here and here” for a post with more info.

    Thank you!

Leave a Reply to Candace Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post Navigation