Kid's Piano Composing Activities
Kid's piano composing activities can take a wide variety of forms, from banging on the keys to full-fledged composition. When you see a child interested in composing for the piano, you should encourage them in every way. For example, a child often says, "I wrote this thing...."
You should drop everything and see what can be done with their creation, no matter how ludicrous or crude. You never know where such an opportunity might lead. Sometimes, their song is nothing but nonsense, but not always. Sometimes you can actually have an intelligent conversation about composing.
Use Other Pieces As Models
Many times, their piece will lead you to show them an existing piece to perhaps use as a model. But be careful not to push them too much in any one direction unless they want to.
It is their song. In many ways, it will not be composing in the classic sense. But just getting kids to help make a decision about a piece of piano music being "composed" is a step in the right direction.
Use A Theatrical Scenario
I usually start with a scenario. Kids love stories, especially when it involves the sound of the piano. So, start playing some chase music. Anything will do as long as the child is excited by it. As soon as the child agrees that what you have played is a good place to start, you can begin. First, get the child to play what you played, no matter how simplified it may be.
Give Kids A Starting Place
Pretend that the child wrote the music. Ask them, "What should happen now?" Maybe the good guys show up after the chase, or maybe there are other complications that ensue before that: bombs, giant winged frogs, torrential rain? Whatever the child says, try to make a bit of music that seems to mirror the action. Then ask the child to play the composition, simplified of course.
Composing Creates Self-Esteem
You'd be very surprised at how proud kids get when they feel they have created something at the piano. Maybe it's a love song, a lullaby, a murder mystery. Whatever excites them is the program. Finally, you will have several musical "events" (chase, bombs, rain, good guys) strung together. Have the child play them.
You can then teach them the song as if it were by Beethoven, by some great composer. Insist on the details, they wrote it after all! In many ways, a kids piano lesson that involves music they wrote is the ultimate excitement for a child. Many kids only want to write their own piano music after a session like this. Go with the flow and call them Beethoven.