New studio challenge! Tempo Travellers

Tempo Travellers Didsbury Piano

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 familiar using a range of Italian terms for tempo.
  • to feel confident playing in time to a metronome, teacher part or backing track at different speeds.
  • to be able to play their repertoire pieces fluently at a suitable speed for the character of the music.  

I’m excited to bring it all together in our new studio challenge- behold Tempo Travellers:

Tempo Traveller challenge board Didsbury Piano

Playing music at the right speed makes it come alive! Here’s how we make this happen:

  • Understand the meaning of the Italian tempo terms
  • Develop control of techniques to play it at a range of speeds
  • Reward the extra effort and resilience required to build and control the speed of repertoire pieces

Tempo Travellers is a 3 level challenge for them to progress or ‘journey’ through, with 3 ‘missions’ per ‘port of call’ : 

  1. Vocab Volcano: identify 5 Italian tempo terms.  This could be through a game, listening exercise, or matching cards.

  2. Technique Tower: play 5 different technical exercises (I use Piano Safari, so it might be from the animal techniques it uses) or scales at 3 different speeds, in time with the metronome or backing track.  These are no-read pieces so we can focus purely on the technique and the tempo control.

  3. Repertoire Ravine: play 5 different pieces at the speed I set.  (I usually expect pieces marked Allegro to be at least 120 bpm, for example).  This doesn’t have to be with a metronome.  It’s designed to focus on building up fluency- the part of practice that kids sometimes need a bit of a boost with!

Each pupil will get one of these log book sheets to track their own progress:

Tempo Traveller challenge log book Didsbury Piano

And when they complete each level, I’ll pin a luggage label on the map with their name on:

This time, instead of little prizes, I’m offering my pupils lesson-based reward tickets- they can choose their favourite activity:

More like this:

Beat Lollipops

Summer Practice Challenge

Memory Masters Challenge


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