In the autumn, our collective attention turns to gratitude as we tuck the summer’s delights away for another year and feel truly thankful for our blessings. It is a time of reflection.
As a piano teacher, it is important to take a minute to count the many ways that piano and piano teaching bless us, and to involve our students in this type of reflection.
As I began to write this blog post, a Bible verse came to mind: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, which begins, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven….” I believe this is true for piano lessons, as well.
“For piano, there are many seasons, and a time for every purpose. A time to play your first sound, and a time to play your last; a time to learn for your own gain and a time to use what you’ve learned for others; a time to feel like quitting and a time to persevere; a time to practice in sections and a time to practice the whole; a time to play music that makes you happy and a time to play music because you mourn; a time to learn music with others and a time to learn alone; a time to play every note perfectly and a time to learn from your mistakes; a time to love piano and a time to hate it; a time to work hard and a time to play.”
As piano teachers, we have lived through many seasons with piano. Sometimes it’s easy to forge ahead without truly taking notice of what a blessing piano is in our lives.
Printable piano lesson activity
On a piano teacher forum once, I saw a teacher post an activity she did with her students on thankfulness. Ever since, I’ve wanted to try it with my students, and now I’m making it available to all of my readers.
The free printable with this post encourages you to name just one thing you get to do because you teach piano. Print the pages for your students and ask them to do the same: ask each student to list one thing they get to do because they take piano lessons.
I’ve created three versions, to give options to students to express their thoughts in different ways: drawing a picture, writing words, or both. This is a free printable, and can be printed in black and white and then coloured by your students. I recommend printing a few of each type of page and letting your students pick which one they’d like to do.
*Each download includes all three sheets!
Hand out the pages in lessons one week and collect them at the following lesson. An alternative idea is to use this as an activity in a group lesson. Once collected, an option is to tape them up somewhere in your studio to make a wall of thankfulness.
Email parents to explain the project
Fellow teacher Shelagh McKibbon U’Ren showed me the email she sent her studio families to explain the project. I feel this is a key step to encouraging your students to fully participate in the project. With the help of their parents, they’ll understand more completely what it is to be thankful. I asked Shelagh for permission to send the same email to my studio and to share it here.
To copy and paste this message into your own email, scroll to the bottom of this post.
The thing that excites me about this activity is the possibility of getting feedback from all of my students on what they love most about playing the piano.
My ‘get to’ statement…
Because of piano I get to create music, connect with others through music and make the world a better place with beauty.
Once my students have submitted their completed sheets, I’ll post a photo of our Wall of Gratitude. Would you do the same? Send me your pics!
Here is the email message to copy and paste:
This is the month that we celebrate giving thanks. There are so many things that we are all blessed to have. I’ve printed a “Giving Thanks” page that students can complete and colour. I sent it home this week. If you get a chance, I’d like you to discuss with your child “Because of PIANO, I get to…”. What does your child “get to do/have/be” because of their piano lessons?
Do they get to learn about music? Do they get to play fun songs? Do they get to realize that it is okay to make mistakes? Do they get to share their music with their family? Do they get to learn different ways to learn? Do they get to feel happy? Do they get to feel proud?
I look forward to seeing the responses and sharing with each student what they are thankful for because of piano!
[Your name here]
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I appreciate shares, comments and likes. Happy teaching!
Video of the week: ‘Orange Sunset’ (Elementary) from The Color Collection Junior, Elementary to Late Elementary piano solos that express all our feelings. Orange Sunset has the feeling of the sleepy ending of a long, exciting day.