Do you have any little energizer bunnies in your music studio?
I certainly do!
How do we keep the attention of these students?
How do we manage to teach them something and keep our sanity (preferably both at the same time)?
Here are my five top tips for teaching energetic students.
Let Them Get Their Wiggles Out
This is a favorite with my energetic pupils.
The first thing we do in their lesson is “Get the Wiggles Out”.
I’ll play something, usually something bright and fast, while they dance around, jump around, run in circles, or whatever other shenanigans are the order of the day.
Once I’m finished playing the piece, then it’s time for them to sit/stand still while we get their lesson started.
Hopefully then they’ll be ready to learn about making music with a clearer head and a few less wiggles!
Vary Your Lesson Plans
The best way to teach an energetic student is to keep their attention.
One way to do that is by adding variety to your lesson plans and activities.
Play some review games, introduce a new book, transpose a familiar song to a new key, or experiment with some duets.
The more interesting your lessons are for a student, the more likely they are to pay attention and absorb what you’re trying to teach.
Teach Lively Repertoire
Highly energetic students are usually fast-paced and enthusiastic in everything they do.
Try taking advantage of that natural exuberance by including some fast and lively pieces in their repertoire.
Most students with lots of energy will probably love playing fast, and it’s a fun way to engage them in the lesson while putting their excitement to good use.
Use Engaging Props
This goes back to our earlier point about adding variety: bringing in fun props to a lesson is one way to keep a student’s attention and get them to reengage.
My students are particularly fond of playing review games with stuffed animals, acting out something from a storybook through music, and learning about our Composer of the Month.
You might have to do some experimenting to see what works best for your students.
Eventually you’ll have quite a few fun and engaging props in your teaching toolbox!
Embrace Off-Bench Activities
Some kids just cannot sit still at a piano bench (or stand still at a music stand) for the entire lesson. This is where off-bench activities will save the day.
The possibilities here are endless.
You can pull out a piano mat, review rhythms with beanbags, do some ear-training exercises, or have a dance off to explore the connection between movement and tempo.
These are valuable learning opportunities, and they give both you and your energetic student a break from the constant refrain of “Remember to sit still and pay attention.”
What are your best tips for teaching energetic students? Let us know in the comments!