The weeks are flying by! Each Tuesday (or sometimes most Tuesdays…) we bring you a quick idea that you can try in your lessons right away. Today’s Teaching Tactic is to change the lyrics of the song, or create your own if there are none. Sometimes I’ll get to a piece about cats in the student’s lesson book and they’ll say “oh no, I hate cats!’ At this point I can either make them play a song about something they hate, skip the song altogether, or make it fun and create a piece they’ll love! I can ask “what do you like instead of cats?” If they like dogs then I mark out everything about cats and make new words about dogs.
I also like to create words for songs that help a student to remember the rhythm and/or notes of a piece. In Faber Piano Adventures, Lesson book 2A, I have a lot of students who struggle with the rhythm on the second line of “Moonlight Melody.” So I will write in and sing with them “stepping up, skip, stepping up, skip, stepping up, skip step.” This helps internalize the rhythm and the directional movement of the notes. For “Pirate of the North Sea” I like to sing “skipping up, up, skipping down, down, then step” for the same reasons. If a student is really struggling I’ll even write this into the music.
Sometimes when a piece has no words I help a student to create their own lyrics. You can use lyrics that help make the piece meaningful and fun. Lyrics can also help a student with memory of the piece. Be creative and make it personal for each student! I’d love to hear your tricks with creating new lyrics for pieces!
Spring Seals, NCTM, teaches 60 piano students ranging from age 3 to 70 in Fort Worth, Texas. She also serves as the Director of Certification for TMTA. She is passionate about helping teachers become more effective in their studios through professional development, new resources, and fresh ideas.