Welcome back for the latest Teaching Tactic Tuesday – today we’re sharing an old favorite, called “Dynamic Skiing”. This activity is amazing for students to internalize their dynamics for a piece! When your student is missing their dynamics, have them stand up for a minute. Slide onto the piano bench since you as the teacher will be playing the piece while the students sing and move.
Now pick what you will be singing. Sometimes the pieces have lyrics we sing but other times we hum and say Ta’s as I play. Students then crouch low as they would to ski, or imagine a wall sit position away from the wall, for the quiet piano parts. For forte students stand up all the way. Everything else is in between the crouch and standing position. Crescendo or diminuendo will keep students moving up or down. Sometimes my students get bored with a section of the piece that is not changing much so we add in more crescendos or diminuendos too.
By the end of the piece, students will know their dynamics and be itching to try playing them! The only warning I have to give you before sending you off to try this out in your studios is to make sure you don’t do it with a really quiet piece that’s really long… I can’t keep my wall sits longer than 30 seconds or so. And you don’t want your students to go away with aching leg muscles 😉 Otherwise, it’s a very safe activity and I hope you enjoy it!
Whitney Hawker, NCTM, teaches group and private piano at Weber State University, Utah. She loves surprising students with the perfect piece or a new exciting game! After graduate school, she missed sharing ideas and resources daily with colleagues so she and her friend, Spring, began blogging together at 4DPianoTeaching.com