Category Archives: Piano lessons


New studio challenge! Tempo Travellers


Having a great sense of pulse is a crucial part of being a musician.  We do lots of activities in our lessons to build a strong internal sense of pulse.  Tempo is the speed of the pulse. In terms of tempo, this is what I expect from all my pupils, right from beginners: to be […]

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Valentine’s Day 2020 activities


This year Valentines Day falls on a Friday (and the last day of half term at local schools)- so all my pupils get to have fun with Valentines-themed activities!  I’m really excited to see their reactions and hope they have a special time this week 🙂 The home studio is bedecked in pink and loveliness […]

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Chinese New Year activities


Here in Manchester, Chinese New Year is a big celebration, with a big, colourful Dragon Parade through town and lots of noise!  Perfect for inspiring a splash of colour and imagination into our piano lessons during the misty, grey month of January.  So here are some ways we explored Chinese sounds in our piano lessons […]

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Easy bass part for Cauliflowers Fluffy


In the UK, Cauliflowers Fluffy is a really popular primary school song for harvest time.  It brings back a lot of memories for me!  Children love being able to play the songs they sing at school, and so I’ve written a simple pre-reading bass part for beginners to play. I’m happy to share it with […]

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Shape phrases with playdough


A quick technique activity to develop phrase shaping. Musicians often talk about ‘shaping the phrases’.  OK, there are countless ways to shape a phrase, but your classic phrase shape is the arch-shaped phrase. Here the first note is lighter, then the tone deepens as we reach the middle of the phrase, then ends more softly.  […]

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Strengthen finger joints with this crocodile game


Here is a fun tool I made that strengthens all the fingers to help stop collapsing knuckles.  It’s easy to make your own.     Collapsing knuckle joints like the one pictured above are a common sight when people start to learn the piano, because they haven’t yet built up the strength in their finger joints.  […]

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Beat lollipops


Here is a bright and simple way I help beginner musicians embed pulse and beat in their first year of learning. My piano pupils do lots of aural activities during lessons. They learn through a ‘sound before symbol’ approach. One way my pupils internalise beat and pulse is with a quick challenge where we swap […]

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Monstrous Fun with Rhythm


This is a hugely versatile game that children especially love in piano lessons, but I use it with students of all ages! 10 of my beginners at Didsbury Piano have started learning crotchet, quaver, minim and semibreve rhythms and I like to give them plenty of reinforcement in a fresh and fun way.  Today we […]

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A practice game to make repetition fun


Here’s how I use a fun game with a beginner teaching piece that really reaps its rewards through repetition.  The piece: Zebra on a Playground This is a beginner improv/technique piece from Piano Safari repertoire book level 1. The goal: strengthen the nail joint on every finger and cement keyboard geography. How: Play the piece […]

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Multi-tasking finger puppet


I am a big fan of using lots of fun props and manipulatives in lessons, and over the last few years I have ended up with boxes full of them.   I just can’t resist their lure! So I extra-love it when I can put them to work double-duty and find multi-tasking uses for these little […]

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