Keeping young students engaged
Found in: Time Management
Stephen R., California
I would love some ideas on keeping 6- and 7-year-olds engaged during a half hour lesson. I’m only teaching SM, but anything else to make the lesson times and learning the songs more fun for them would be appreciated. I don’t have a whole lot of experience with that age group. The main issues tend to be the attention spans at that age.
Leeanne I., Australia
The main problem with kids is them having to sit still. When they start wiggling, you just need to get them out of their chairs and moving. There are lots of music-related things you could do. Songs for Children has a coupld of action songs you can play; Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes for example. A musical piano mat where they have to play the songs with their feet can be purchased at most toy stores.
Joy O., Alabama
I generally start no younger than 7, and I have groups. In a shared lesson, there is automatically movement up and down and round robin at the piano. Fun sometimes is in your approach, not taking yourself too seriously. I ask silly questions, so (for example) when we are going to count 4 beats, I say, “Wait, can y’all count to four?” Sometimes they look at me as if I questioned their intelligence. Then I say, “Of course you can!”.
Ian B., California
In the educator section of SM library there is a really helpful audio training on Teaching Young Children. Lots of super helpful ideas that I’ve implemented. The main ones I use are doing private lessons for younger children and splitting the time somewhat between the parent and child. I even market this as a kind of “mommy and me” format lesson.
Swenja Z., California
One way I keep the others occupied is by having them play hand drums. I keep it very simple – mostly just drumming on the beat. This also helps them achieve a better sense of rhythm and the student at the piano needs to keep the beat as well!
Mandy H., Virginia
I use all sorts of things to keep them on the move. I taught general music forever and have lots of resources. I agree with drums too or any non-pitched percussion with listening activities. Picture books that illustrate songs, games, vocal exploration, etc. Include singing, because it develops the ear and the expressive playing.