Making Piano Technique Fun-Ideas for Fixing the Problematic low wrist

Looking for a fun way to make piano technique relatable for little ones? I have found that very young students don’t completely grasp why they need use proper playing technique when learning the piano. They just want to learn new songs. I am always thrilled when students are excited about playing pieces but I have yet to find students excited about technique. So over the next few weeks I will be covering some of the tricks I have learned that help students understand and get more excited about playing technique.

Ideas For Fixing Low WristsTeaching Piano Technique Part one: Ideas For Fixing Low Wrists

When students first start playing piano they often play with a low wrist.  A first, there may be no direct effect on their playing. They’re just playing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. But what happens when these students grow up? Can they play as well with a low wrist? Not really! And not only will their skills be in danger but they could experience a playing injury and have to quite all together. So how can we as piano teachers put an early stop to these low wrists? Here are some tips I have found very helpful for young students.


  1. Using Stuffed Animals in Piano LessonsGet a stuffed animal. I like using an alligator but there are many options. Have the student pretend the area blow their wrist is a swamp. Then say something like, “Whenever your wrist gets low Mr. Swampy the friendly alligator is going to come give you a friendly nudge. Can you play your piece without Mr. Swampy giving you a nudge?”  Whenever their wrist gets to low give a gentle nudge with the stuffed animal.
  2. Have the students pretend there is a helium balloon attached to each wrist. This balloon is then “pulling” their wrist up. This is a good one for kids who aren’t comfortable having their wrists adjusted while playing.
  3. Finally get a highlighter (make sure it is washable). Hold it below the student’s wrist. The highlighter should only be close enough to touch their wrist if it is too low. The student’s goal is to play their piece without getting any colored marks. This is a great game to use with the slightly older student who is past stuffed animals.

Method to My Madness- How to Effectively Teach Music Theory

How to effectively teach music theory. As I have taught piano lessons over the years I have found that young students need their theory broken down into baby steps. If theory is not broken down into manageable pieces they either become overwhelmed and frustrated or don’t learn the material well. In order to try and solve this problem, I  introduce a basic theory concept in steps. This helps me see if a student is understanding the new material and also helps make sure they learn it well.

For example, when I teach the notes on the staff I start with middle C and treble G. Then I add bass clef F. From there I go on to add treble D through E. Once a students has learned these treble notes well, I will add the remaining bass clef notes between F and C. I then do lots of practice with these 9 notes before expanding to more notes on the staff.  Usually each of these levels is spread over several weeks. I give  myself freedom for plenty of review if a student needs help.

With each of these steps I use a theory game I created to make learning these notes fun and interactive for each student. For example check out the free bug catchers game I use to introduce C and G.


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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?




Search and Find for Preschool Piano Students

Simple and fun Preschool Piano GameRecently I started teaching a preschool boy. In the past I have always had a small handful of preschool piano students. When I first started teaching children ages 4-5 there were very few resources for teaching preschoolersso I always had to start from scratch. Since then I have found a few resources to use as guides.  Andrea and Trevor Dow over at Teach Piano Today have created WunderKeys, an excellent resource for preschoolers which I am currently usuing. I am enjoying using this program  and as always I enjoy adding to excellent resources with my own games.  This week I created a search and find for my preschooler. The game way huge hit, and since we played it before the lesson it helped get the after school jitters out.  I printed cards with treble clef, bass, clef, quarter notes, whole notes, and half notes. I then hid them around the room. I then instructed him to find 3 quarter notes etc until all the notes/symbols were found. (I do not call the notes by their proper names with this age. Instead I use One, Too-oo and No no won’t go. More on this later)


Download the search and find cards here.

5 Key Signature Games to Keep your Students excited about music lessons

Keep your students looking forward to their lessons each week with a new game. Need something to get you started? Here are 5 key signature games. Look for more games on other topics coming soon!5 Key Signature Games to play with your students

In my studio I like to gradually introduce key signatures in correlation to their scale. For example I start with the Keys of C G and F. I gradually add a new key signature each week usually through a game. Below are the five games I most commonly use with my students. They have all been a huge hit with the kids!  Get these games today and help complete your lesson plans for this fall!


Pizza Keys Key Signature Game





Pizza Keys covers C,G,D,A,E,F, and B flat. It is played in the style of bingo/tic tac toe.





Cupcake Key Signature Game




Cupcake Keys covers the Keys of C,G,D,A,F and B flat, Players draw the cupcake chords until the winning player covers all keys in the cupcake tin.






Cherry Keys Key Signature game



Cherry keys is a step up from pizza keys and cupcake keys. It adds the key signatures of E flat and E. The first student to draw and correctly identify all the keys wins.





Ladybug Key Signature Game




Ladybug Keys Covers the Keys of C,G,A,F,B flat and E flat. It is a great game to add to your stash if you have a student who is needs more practice with keys but is ready for a fresh new game.






S'more Key Signature Game



S’more Keys is the most advanced of all the key signature games. It covers all key signature and not only asks for key signature identification but also to name what key signature has a certain number of sharps/flats. Children love collecting the items to build s’more and seeing who has the most s’mores at the end of the game.