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Piano Candy and the Case for Bribery

Piano Candy and the Case for Bribery

Piano Candy, and the case for bribery, is one way of getting kids started at the piano. You may well accuse me of bribery, even poisoning, and you would be right. In the course of being a piano teacher, I discovered Tic Tacs, a tiny breath mint that was effective against mouth odor.

Let's be honest. A piano teacher is often less than a foot away from a student. We sit on the bench beside them, or on a chair next to their bench.

The last thing you need is a kid saying, " Ewww, you smell like garlic and fish," just after your lovely lunch.

So I quickly became sensitive to having good breath, and thus adopted Tic Tacs, which worked well. But the kids noticed me having a Tic Tac, and many asked, "Can I have one?" This brings up several issues. Do the parents allow the child to eat sweets? Is it proper  to reward them with candy? Are their health issues, like allergies, or diabetes, which may be present?

Piano Is Easy

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Most Kids Crave Sweets

Remember your childhood relationship with candy? As an adult, I'm a health-conscious consumer of organic foods, but as a child I craved sweets, just as my students do. The mere presence of sweets raises a child's mood, instantly. I quickly realized that a simple game could be devised using a small innocuous candy such as Tic Tacs.

Piano Candy Bribery

Let me preface this by saying that I don't use it on all kids. When the child asks for a Tic Tac, I become a game show host. I award a treat to the contestant who plays a significant portion of a song, or some other task they need to learn.

Carrot And Donkey System

I might start by giving them a treat, and then say, "And there's more behind door number five if you can play STAR WARS memorized," or whatever song they might be able to play. Now you will witness a scramble of mad concentration as they try to learn the task to win the prize.

I make it fun and lenient, but they have to show me some skill to win. They expect the prize to withheld if they fail, and try harder because of it. I find that skills presented in this way have a much quicker reception, mostly because it has been made into a "sweet" game.

Cancel The Reward Occasionally

Just knowing that a teacher appreciates their candy enthusiasm helps motivate them. It doesn't matter how you get the child to sample and master the simple skill involved in the game. What matters is that they have the idea of what the skill is.

They have to be willing to compete and try to learn more skills that build on the first skill. Once you get them started acquiring piano skills, the desire for candy starts to lessen, and approaches a reasonable rate. And by that time, the child has the skills you have pleasantly taught them.

Rewarding Accomplishment

In the beginning, you will think it is a candy lesson, not a piano lesson. But if you handle it intelligently, you'll find that the child learns the skills needed, and is thus more able to progress. Piano is like a pyramid, with each layer above more difficult, and only approachable from the layer below.

Resolve to get the children climbing up these levels as fast as is comfortable, through any means that prove successful and pleasant. Laughter, candy, games, or any enjoyable means will work for a child. Genuine praise is the best candy of all.


Piano Teaching Style

If It’s Fun For The Teacher, It’s Fun For The Kids

Piano Methods and Children’s Personalities

The Backwards Piano Method

Reverse Psychology and Children’s Piano

Help Your Child Enjoy The Piano

Ten Rules for A Pleasant Piano Teaching Atmosphere

If You’re Having Fun, You’re Not Learning

The Difference Between the Worst and Best Piano Teacher

A Piano Teacher’s Emotions

A Pleasant Piano Lesson Atmosphere

The Use of Humor in Piano Lessons

Make Use of Your Student’s Sense of Humor

The Piano Whisperer

Fitting the Piano Method to the Child

Soft Piano vs. Hard Piano

Why I Teach Piano

Advice To A Young Piano Teacher

Teaching Children's Piano

Guilt Is The Wrong Way To Buy Attention

The Piano Teacher’s Tone of Voice

Knowing When To Back Off

Why Nagging Your Child To Practice Won’t Work

How To Make Your Kids Love The Piano

Teaching Kid’s Piano Is Like Herding Cats

Repeated Victory Will Make You Invincible

Ratio of Talk To Activity in Piano Lessons

On Which Side of the Piano Do You Teach?

Setting the Mood Of Children’s Piano Lessons

Why Kids Succeed At The Piano

Child Pianists Are Like Guide Dogs

The Purpose Of The First Five Piano Lessons

The Real Goal Of Children’s Piano Lessons

The Philosophy Of Piano For Kids

How Simple Should Piano Lessons Be?

Piano Toys You Should Bring To A Lesson

Fun Kid’s Piano

Joyful Piano Lessons

The Invisible Piano Method

A Patient Piano Teacher

Make Beginning Piano Simple

The Reverse Piano Method

Nurture Your Piano Students

Against Disciplinarian Piano Teachers

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