Category Archives: Piano lessons


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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My Latest Music Displays


New Displays- 2 for £2.50! Today I’m giving a peek at two displays I made to brighten up piano lessons at the studio.  Next week I am excited to start teaching piano at a primary school in West Didsbury.  Their music room is a blank canvas, and our piano lessons will be the first music […]

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Brain Break with Bubbles


This brain break is the best fun ever!  Young beginners need to learn the finger numbers and memorise short patterns. I’ve found a lovely way to reinforce this! Blow some bubbles up in the air and have the pupil pop all the bubbles with the correct fingers in order as shown on the card, before […]

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