Although I use a great piano course that’s full of improv games and theory, I still find it useful and fun to use games not in the book.
Much of my inspiration comes from Teach Piano Today; they’ve got lots of freebies on their site, so go check them out! I am a huge fan of their improv games. Most of these games come with printable cards with themed words that are set to rhythms. It’s a very natural and helpful way to help students with rhythm.
I took their Halloween set a step further by using these cards to help my students compose their own Halloween song!
We first go through the entire deck (there’s only 9 cards, so it doesn’t take too long) and make sure they understand the rhythms. Then I show them my version of the final song and tell them to pay attention to what repeats. They point out the four-measure phrase that repeats twice, and then I have them guess what AABA form means. And so far, 100% of my students have guessed correctly!
Then we go through and pick out their own set of four cards to use. Since the piece is in A minor, I limit their note choices to A-E, so their pinky stays on A, and 5 stays on E. This works for every level, even the ones who don’t yet read music (they’ve only been playing a couple weeks). Then, for the B section, we jump their thumb to C and have them choose notes from there. As they choose notes, we write them into this handy template.
It takes about 10 minutes to do each section, so the last ten minutes of two lessons in a row is a good way to incorporate some Halloween fun! If you can find some fun Halloween paper to print it on, that’s even better!
Hope you got some good ideas from this game, and let me know if you have any other fun ideas for Holidays!