Piano is a wonderful skill that takes concentration and patience to learn. Learning how to read notes, regulate tempo and coordinate independent hands can take years of practice. Children look forward to lessons when they take the form of games you can use to teach piano skills in a fun and exciting way.
Quarters is a game that can help improve your students hand position and playing agility by forcing them to keep their hands level as they play. This game is very simple to play. Before each lesson, place a quarter on each hand of your student. Tell them they must play without the quarter falling off their hand. If the quarter falls off, you keep the quarter. However, if they can play an entire song without the quarters falling off, they get to keep the quarters. This game is more effective with younger children who are just learning piano, as a couple of quarters has more value to them than to older students who may have their own income.
Piano Board Game
One of the most tedious exercises a piano student must master is piano scales. These are usually boring to play as they require rote memorization and repetition to learn. However, you can make scales fun by creating a board game system. Play the game with the student to make it competitive. Pick any board game that requires rolling dice. Choose a scale and have them play from memory to decide their "dice roll." As they play, take note of the correct notes they play. It doesn’t have to be consecutive notes. For instance, playing two notes correctly on the scale allows them two spaces to move on the board. Tell them what notes they got wrong in the scale and let the move. Do this until the game is over. Repeat if necessary.
Practicing at home in addition to during lessons is very important for learning piano. However, many students don’t have the money or space for their own piano or keyboard. As a substitute, there are many online games that can help your students learn at home. Games such as Interval Practice at Pedaplus (see link in References) help your students understand the sound of two tones and their musical "distance" from each other. At the Music Learning Community (see References), choose from a number of games that give your students a chance to see the music and pick the note on the keyboard that it represents. These games have a small keyboard on the screen. You use your mouse to click on the correct key or keys. You are rewarded with a score, which you can often post online.