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Piano Dice Game

Piano Dice Game

Lesson 22: The Piano Dice Game

The PIANO DICE GAME is used when a child is ready to start playing a favorite piece somewhat seriously. It’s usually a piece that everyone knows, and I call it the “calling card.” This is a song that the child can use to tell everyone, “I can play the piano.” The simplest example is “Jingle Bells.”

For an older child, it might be the theme to a favorite TV show. Repeating the song can kill the enthusiasm, especially for youngest beginners, so I devised this game to take the sting out of getting to know a piece, and  more than one.

Repetition breeds familiarity, which breeds confidence. Confidence with at least one song (the “calling card”) has to be established very soon in the lessons so the child feels proud and wants to continue.

For The Piano Dice Game, you’ll need Post-Its, or a pad of paper, and a pair of dice.

  • Teach the first four bars of six common songs. They must be memorized.
  • Assign each song a number and write the list on a Post-It, which is stuck to a visible place on the piano.
  • Roll the dice to see which song to play. Let the child roll. The dice will fall under the piano. Bring extra dice. Laugh. It’s a game.
  • Move quickly from one song to the next.
  • Don’t dwell on mistakes.
  • Correct a note or two, then move on, roll again.
  • If there is a particular song (the “calling card”) that the child should learn, rig the results of the dice roll so that song comes up more often.
  • After a few weeks, the kids will tire of the game. Leave it alone, and come back to it.

The goal is to play as many of the six songs, as quickly as possible. This is partly a memory exercise, and helps the child develop the skill of memorizing a short section. It also teaches them the skill of looking at their hands. Tell them to look at their hands and try to remember what it looks like, where the black keys are, etc.

Try To Introduce Fingering
When Mary Had A Little Lamb comes up a second time, try the “more than one” finger idea again, quickly, and gently. The Dice Game gives you repeated, short shots at their attention, so use it quickly and pass on to the next roll.

Be very sparing in your stopping and teaching in the middle of the game. You’ll kill the enthusiasm if you over-use it. Better to let the game roll on and play more songs using any fingering. It is a memory and confidence game, not really a fingering game. If you'd like, play it as described, and then add the element of fingering to it. “We’re going to play Dice, but now we have to play with certain fingers.” Be very lenient. It’s a game.

You’ll begin to notice that a child in the game mode is happy and attentive, and far easier to teach. Ideally, the mood of lessons is always that of a game. It is exhausting for the teacher and exhilarating at the same time. It is the closest an adult will ever come to being a child again. 

Use this game, and many others, when the fatigue of thinking seems too much for the child. This game is the prime example of how to disguise repetition at the piano as a game.

 

 

COURSE ONE: TEACHING TOOLS

#1 TEACHING CHILDREN’S PIANO

#2 WHAT A CHILD SHOULD EXPECT FROM PIANO LESSONS

#3 WHAT IS FINGERING AND WHEN DO WE USE IT

#4 PIANO BY NUMBER AND OTHER STARTING METHODS

#5 THE FIRST PIANO LESSON

#6 MINUTE BY MINUTE PIANO LESSON

#7 TOYS AND ACCESSORIES FOR FUN PIANO LESSONS

#8 READING MUSIC FOR KIDS STEP BY STEP

#9 THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WORST AND BEST TEACHER

#10 A CHILD’S CLASSICAL MUSIC LISTENING LIST

COURSE TWO: TEACHING BACKGROUND

#11 A SHORT HISTORY OF THE PIANO

#12 A SHORT HISTORY OF PIANO METHODS

#13 A PLEASANT PIANO LESSON ATMOSPHERE

#14 ADVICE TO A YOUNG PIANO TEACHER

#15 WHY I TEACH PIANO

#16 A PIANO TEACHER’S EMOTIONS

#17 PACE AND CHILDREN’S PIANO LESSONS

#18 CHILDREN’S PIANO MOTOR SKILLS DEFINED BY AGE

#19 CHILDREN’S PIANO FINGERING OVERVIEW

#20 GUILT IS THE WRONG WAY TO BUY ATTENTION

COURSE THREE: PIANO GAMES

#21 FOURS, A PIANO COUNTING GAME

#22 THE PIANO DICE GAME

#23 PIANO HAND POSITION GAMES

#24 THE USE OF HUMOR IN PIANO LESSONS

#25 HAPPY OR SAD: EAR TRAINING FOR KIDS

#26 FOLLOW THE LEADER: VISUAL PIANO GAMES

#27 PIANO GAMES TO PLAY WHEN ALL GOES WRONG

#28 PRECURSOR SKILL PIANO GAMES

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PIANO BY NUMBER

We've turned notes into numbers for happy beginners at the piano!

PLAY ALONG SONGS ARE FREE!

Our PLAY ALONG SONGS are produced by Grammy Award winner Joe Castellon of Sesame Street. They're such an important element in making the piano fun for kids!

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