What kinds of activities do you do to help your students get focused at the beginning of a lesson?
I saw this question recently in a Facebook group post and realized it was time to share an activity started doing this year.
After attending a workshop by Melody Bober a couple of years ago, I was inspired to come up with a little warm-up routine to use at the start of each student’s lesson.
Not long after that, I was listening to an episode of the All Keyed Up Podcast where he was interviewing Marvin Blickenstaff. At one point, Marvin called warm-ups at the beginning of a lesson a way of “stimulating circulation.” I loved that phrase and it was another element that convinced me to come up with a fun little routine of my own.
The benefits of including something like this in your lesson are:
- It helps students take a moment to transition from their day into the lesson time.
- It helps students loosen up a bit and serves as a reminder of the elements of good posture and technique such as arms approximately at tabletop level, forearm rotation, relaxed shoulders, natural hand position, etc.
The routine I designed is now available in my shop. Here’s a look!
Piano Lesson Warm-Up / Focus Activity
While this was developed with piano students in mind, it could be used with music students of any instrument!
Some of my specific goals in developing this routine were:
- Be something students of any age would feel comfortable doing (delivery and vocal tone have a lot to do with this. 🙂 )
- Be easy to remember and take less than 1:00 to complete.
- Be something that can be done sitting or standing.
- Include movements for as many parts of the body used in playing piano as possible including head, back, shoulders, arms, wrists, hands, and fingers.
As a bonus, the words flow in a somewhat chant-like manner. The first two of the seven-line chant are:
Look to the left and right;
Tilt your head side to side.
Gentle twist, from the waist;
Body circles, that’s the way.
Here is a 0:15 snippet of the 0:50 routine.
Final Tips and How to Purchase
A couple of final things to keep in mind when incorporating a routine like this:
- Yes, it’s good to be consistent, but it’s not the end of the world if we don’t do it every week. Sometimes students plow into their lesson and are so focused on being ready to play one particular piece, we just dive right into that.
- Don’t force it. If you sense a student doesn’t like it or that it doesn’t work well for them, then don’t do it. Don’t feel like it has to be used with every student even though it was written in a way that all ages could be comfortable.
This product includes a PDF printable of the full warm-up chant as well as the full video displaying the motions.
Add it to your shopping cart now or from the Piano Pantry shop.
Do you have any favorite warm-up/focus activities you use in your studio? Share in the comments!