Today's tip is about how to manage usually well-behaved children who usually listen.
But who do not understand that when you ask them not to bang on the piano. So this is a problem because it frustrates you as the teacher. Number one, it interrupts the flow of the group. If you're speaking and you want the children to hear what you're saying, or if you were supposed to be demonstrating something or their student was supposed to be demonstrating something on the piano, instead of focusing on the tune or the rhythm, now you're focusing on their attitude or the overuse of things.
Power on the piano. So it interrupts you. It interrupts the flow of teaching for both the student and the other kids in the group who are watching him. And we all know how it is in a group, how naughtiness can be like a Tinder. Someone can strike it off and then it spreads. And then you have an out of control fire of naughtiness in your classroom.
So let's talk about how we can nip this piano banging in the bud. Now I've heard some teachers, and I've been tempted myself to try the trick of beginning to close the piano lid over the hands of the person who's banging. That's something, but I think that it's not as constructive as it could be because as I've said before, one of the things that we need to help younger children to become better learners in our piano classes.
So that we can enjoy teaching younger children in our class is getting them to commit. And a commitment involves a choice and a positive action. So if you're putting the lid of the piano down on their hands, that's not their choice. And that's not a positive action. So I'm going to give you a tool that you can use.
You can install this tool with your group and then you can remind them of it and let them pick it up again and use it positively instead of negatively, which is don't do that. Stop doing that. Or physically stopping them from banging on the keys. And this is that tool. That tool is a song that I like to think of as.
Think of something quiet. This is actually words that you can put on top of the tune that I've introduced to you as my hello tune, which is, it's so good to see you. I really couldn't wait. No, I'll shake my head while I count to eight so that tune, we can use that tune with the words. Think of something quiet.
So I'll give you an example of what that sounds like. It's all good to see you. I really caught in Wade. Would you think of something quiet while like how to aid one, two, three, four, eight. So that's the song you can sing. And then you can ask your students after the song. What did they think of? Some of them will say they thought of a bear.
They thought of a cat. They thought of a ball of cotton. They thought of a cloud. You can suggest to them some things that you think are quiet too. You could tell them that you think, um, you think a pillow is quiet. Or you think, um. The door to the closet when the closet is already closed is quiet. So give them suggestions of things that are quiet and then you can ask them to show you what it's like to pick up that quiet thing and you'll see them making light.
Smooth motions with their bodies when they're going to pick up this quiet thing, because most quiet things are light and soft, right? So ask them to pick up this quiet thing and watch how they move. And then you can ask them now to go to the piano and pretend that the keys are the quiet thing. So if they said that a feather was there, quiet thing, can you touch the keys like a feather?
Let me see. You touched the keys like a feather. So after each of them has gotten a chance to go to the piano and touch the keys, like they're quiet thing, then they know what their quiet thing is, right? So if ever you get to a point where you're noticing that people are starting to get hard and heavy with their hands on the keys, you can say, could you play like something quiet?
And then they'll remember their quiet thing and they'll start using their hands in that quiet way, not just their hands, but their arms, their shoulders, their, the rest of their body in that quiet way. So think of some quiet things. Think of how you can use this song as part of a lesson in your group with your younger students and think how wonderful it would be if you could immediately turn your kids from wildly experimenting with how heavy and hard they can be on the piano.
With experimenting with how soft and gentle and slow and careful they could be on the piano. I hope you really enjoyed this tip and when you get a chance to try it, please do write a note in the comments because I'd like to know how it worked for you and if you hit a snag, I'd like to give you some ideas of how to go forward.
So that it can really be effective for you. This is something that I think takes a couple of lessons before it's really installed and really can work for good. But then when it does work for good, it's always yours to use.
Hi! I'm Ekanem Ebinne. I've been teaching school and studio music for kids for fifteen years. I love how preschool kids immediately focus on music and stay engaged longer when I use movement and development insights from Gordon Music Learning Theory. And I love hearing from teachers who took my training and found the same success with their own students. Join us on Facebook, take the free Five Day Studio De-stress Challenge, and subscribe to our mailing list to get new blog posts as soon as they're up.