March 17, 2021

I dare you not to get this song stuck in your head!

So your student has blasted through sight reading, ear training, improvisation, and whatever else you can think of, but you still have 5 minutes left in the lesson.

OR, it’s been “one of those days” and your student really just doesn’t feel like playing. 

Here’s a fun and musically productive way to spend those 5 minutes.

This is a Zoom recording I sent to one of my students when we had an “asynchronous” lesson week. (One of the perks of teaching online is that there’s no need to schedule makeups anymore!)

The video was meant for the student to watch at home and rewind/repeat as much as they liked, so I sort of zoomed through the instructions. 

Here’s the scaffolding I used for this particular song, but the logic can be applied to so many other songs:

  1. (00:03) Introduce materials
  2. (00:16) Sing and demonstrate song – be sure to “count in” by clapping or counting
  3. (00:30) Sing it again, inviting student to join
  4. (00:50) Introduce a motion or participation action (“tap your head” when I sing “in my head”)
  5. (1:13) Introduce another motion or participation action (“whenever I sing the words ‘hot dog’, we’ll clap”)
  6. (1:43) Optional: Combine the two motions!
  7. (2:09) Sing it again using a rhythm instrument on the beat
  8. (2:27) More variations: tap the rhythm instruments on the words “hot dog” only, or swap out “in my head” for other body parts, like “in my nose”

Here’s the video with timestamps:

Feel free to send it to your students for them to follow along at home if you need some bonus activities in a pre-recorded video lesson. 

You’ll find plenty of resources and videos like this inside the live 8-week course “Unfazed: Teaching Piano to Students with Disabilities”.

About the author 

Selena Pistoresi

Selena is a lifelong pianist and piano teacher of over a decade. She owns a studio in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, where she specializes in working with students with special needs. She equips teachers all over the world with the mindset, tools, and curriculum to teach students with special needs and help their studios flourish.

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