The piano dice game is a simple way to transform an everyday object into a tool for teaching piano.
It’s a way to eliminate the drudgery of repeating songs.
Take a pair of dice.
You can use just one if the child is very young.
Let the child roll the dice gently on the piano keys and ask the child what number has rolled.
Now take out a Post It or some paper, and start making a list of six songs.
If the child doesn’t know six songs, start teaching them the right hand part to six simple songs, like Jingle Bells and Twinkle Twinkle.
What the songs actually are, is irrelevant. The idea is to select short pieces the child can play and refine with ease.
They don’t have to learn all the song, just enough to make the song recognizable to themselves. Have a goal of four bars, or the first phrase. One hand at first if that is most comfortable.
If the child is small, make the goal three songs.
As soon as the child has attempted to learn the songs, let the child roll the dice.
Yes, the dice will fall on the floor. Yes, they will roll under the piano. Bring extra dice, laugh and go on. It’s a game.
I guarantee you the child will now willingly attempt to play one of the songs. And they will enthusiastically want to roll again. I have no idea why they like it so much. I think it’s human nature and the sense of play.
In the brief moment they play the song, they will be open to a small instruction. “Oh, put that finger there, play this C chord there.” Don’t force the refinement. Just suggest and try a very slight addition or refinement for a moment. Then move on. Roll the dice.
You can opt to make them play the song a couple of times, in essence fooling them into, dare I say it, practicing! They will actually want to play the song at least twice. But not too much repetition. It’s a game.
Keep adding songs to the list until they require several pair of dice. Drop songs from the list they dislike or find too difficult.
Start new lists. Children respond more than anything to variety and a sense of fun and play.
Use these elements and you’ll find the child’s enthusiasm for piano lessons growing.
Copyright 2008 Walden Pond Press