How To Create Games For The Piano
It's not hard to create games for the piano that kids will enjoy. Games can teach many valuable techniques. Piano games work best when their secret object is to build a musical skill. I say "secret" because your agenda shouldn't be apparent to the child. They should feel joy, like when they are playing.
Thus the presentation of the game is as important as the game itself. The child must feel a sense of play rather than work, or their mind will not give you its best. Unlock is the child's natural intelligence, which every child has regardless of musical talent. Call it common sense or horse sense.
Piano games can be absurdly simple for preschoolers, or terribly sophisticated for teenagers. But what they all share is knowledge cloaked as enjoyment.
All Musical Games Have A Purpose
The first step in creating or using a piano game is to determine its purpose. Often, in a lesson, I see that a certain idea or skill is foggy. I instantly veer off on what appears to be a comical tangent, but is actually a foray into the subject that is giving them trouble.
The case is almost always that a task can't be completed because a "precursor" skill is not yet in place.
Find The Problem, Then Make The Game
For example, a child might have difficulty using a certain finger or set of fingers in a song, so I instantly isolate the problem. Suppose the problem is that they don't quite get the idea that the thumb is the lead-off finger, the "captain" of the hand, despite being shorter than every other finger.
I would make up a game called "Leader of the Hand" and we would play silly games involving distinguishing the thumb from the other fingers. I make them close their eyes and then call out a finger for them to wiggle. Become "Professor Fingerbingle," a stupid old man who has trouble with his fingers.
At the end of five minutes of fun, that child will be forever certain where their thumbs are and how to use them. There is a look on a child's face when they are exerting all their intelligence in the act of fun. That is the mental state I am seeking, for teaching is best there.
When a child is delighted, you can teach them anything.