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#57863 - 02/22/12 10:36 AM Help for both teenage boys/girls
Joyful Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 02/03/09
Posts: 756
Loc: Southern Ontario, Canada
I hope you don't mind a post with 2 questions?

Possibly this has been addressed before? What are some good prizes to put in my prize bin for teenage boys? One fella continues to exceed and I'm sure he'll get the prize again this month!

He likes chocolate and candy, but possibly because that's all that's geared to his age in the bin right now!!

ALSO - I have one teenage girl in particular that is gifted on the piano. She is the only one whose house I go to, to teach (all others come here to my home). She is a lovely girl and usually bright and bubbly. Sometimes though it's a strain to know what to teach her to keep her interest that day. Possibly she has just come home from a bad day at school, or it's a puberty issue or something else I haven't thought of yet!

What do you pull out of your bag of tricks, to help keep a lesson moving along when the student is not as happy and glad to be at the lesson as previous weeks??

Any helpful hints would be appreciated!

#57866 - 02/22/12 11:52 AM Re: Help for both teenage boys/girls [Re: Joyful]
SillyString Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 08/03/10
Posts: 277
Loc: Washington State
To keep a lesson moving along: we take sections of the music and look at them in depth, invent practice strategies for tricky passages and make up stories so there's a mental picture to go with the piece. Sometimes looking at the entire piece is just too much and breaking it down helps the student to focus on specifics. That works with me too. Sometimes I'm not ready to study something so I just pull out a little section that needs a lot of work. All my tricky bits are marked (I do that the first run through a piece just so I don't have to go find them again) so I know where to go right off. Usually, after 20 minutes to tightly focused work, I'm ready to look at whole pieces again.

But there are days when school has been stressful and kids just can't take in any more details so I pull out theory games. I have 3 that work really well because they move quickly: "Beat This!" "Screamin' Match" and "Flashy Fingers" These are all from So far, students have not failed to brighten up when the games come out.

Another idea for the "bag of tricks" comes from "Pattern Play" by Forrest Kinney. You can introduce basic LH patterns and experiment with RH improvisation. The idea of going to the piano and just "noodling around" can be very appealing to teens.

#57867 - 02/22/12 12:06 PM Re: Help for both teenage boys/girls [Re: SillyString]
alidoremi Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/11/02
Posts: 2120
Loc: California
What kind of repertoire are the students (particularly the girl) playing?

#57868 - 02/22/12 12:45 PM Re: Help for both teenage boys/girls [Re: alidoremi]
Joyful Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 02/03/09
Posts: 756
Loc: Southern Ontario, Canada
She is playing mostly from Faber 2A. She often writes her own songs which are quite involved I might add! She also has a pop book that we occasionally look at (as she doesn't always want to play from it, but she/mom choose it). Also she prints out 'sad songs' from the internet and they often involve many leger lines!! She is not real keen on sight reading and often will memorize a piece shortly after playing it - that amazes me as I don't have that gift! She does struggle with sight reading and knowing note names, but has vastly improved in the year we've had lessons together. I guess you could say she had a lot of self teaching which is beneficial to some extent, but we're still working on not writing in a lot of note names (which is mainly just on the harder pieces she herself finds).

Hope that makes sense!

#57872 - 02/22/12 02:31 PM Re: Help for both teenage boys/girls [Re: Joyful]
pianojazzgirl Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 07/26/03
Posts: 847
Loc: Montreal
What about teaching her some lead-sheet/chord stuff? Do you think she would be interested?

Another idea is to find a book of "sad music" similar to what she finds for herself, but at an easier level that she could actually sightread.

#57880 - 02/22/12 09:52 PM Re: Help for both teenage boys/girls [Re: pianojazzgirl]
Joyful Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 02/03/09
Posts: 756
Loc: Southern Ontario, Canada
Todays' lesson went quite well, she was happy and interested! We worked for a while on one song she really likes, getting it ready for our Recital in May.

I have really found the questionnaires I asked about in another post, to be very helpful in getting to know more of the student's interests. For example, a few of my students are wanting to play in Church and I did not know they attended! Also some students are interested in classical and I would not have thought that. So - thanks again to all who gave question suggestions.

Thanks also for the answers to this current question!

Still looking for gift/treat ideas for a teenage boy, for my prize bin - many thanks!!

#57883 - 02/22/12 10:33 PM Re: Help for both teenage boys/girls [Re: Joyful]
Susan Kaye Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 180
Loc: Queensland, Australia
Re gifts/treats for teen boys Joyful, I struggle with this too - even though I have five grown sons and two teenage grandsons and should have plenty of experience! Most often they choose practical stationery items such as music manuscript books or music pens and pencils and clips etc. Sweets can be popular but as they get more and more health and fitness conscious they'd prefer trail mix. I've thought of burger vouchers for MacDonalds but my sons became too healthy for that also! Movie vouchers are great however where we live that is at the more expensive end of the gift range.

Look forward to reading some other suggestions here on the forum......

Edited by Susan Kaye (02/22/12 10:34 PM)

#58786 - 05/02/12 05:17 PM Re: Help for both teenage boys/girls [Re: Susan Kaye]
Joyful Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 02/03/09
Posts: 756
Loc: Southern Ontario, Canada
May I update this? The female student I mentioned above has been quite upbeat which pleases me.

However today she sort of threw me for a loop. She struggled to politely say that she feels 2A PA is too young for her (she's almost 15), in terms of the drawings and song styles. She can learn songs well off the internet and once she knows a song she can repeat it on the piano. She is gifted that way, but I don't think she's as good as she may think.

She totally understands she must keep up with theory. In a nutshell I said I'd still like to keep with the basics (probably the lesson book?) and work as well on other pop song books she has and elaborate on them once she's familiar with the song.

I commented how I might get her a composition book as she really enjoys writing her own songs and this may help for future songs. She is playing one she wrote on Sat. at our Recital.

So my question is - where do we go from here. I am going to bring in my copies of Prelim RCM and another Adult book and see if that interests her. I get her point of not wanting 'young' sounding songs but she really is not ready to totally move away from method books. I am not sure if the Adult PA would work for her as I'm not too familiar with it. We may have to do trial and error for a few weeks before we determine what fits. I think she understands that and appreciates that I accept her opinion.

Any help is appreciated!

#58789 - 05/02/12 06:00 PM Re: Help for both teenage boys/girls [Re: Joyful]
shannonspiano Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 07/01/04
Posts: 689
Loc: WI
Would this type of thing entice your student?Music for Busy Teens You could also try switching to accelerated piano adventures for a slower than adult but not babyish method. Sometimes empathy in cases like this work great.. That's also one reason that I have some of my students using the American Popular Piano books, as there is zero pictures to make it look easy.

#58795 - 05/02/12 09:49 PM Re: Help for both teenage boys/girls [Re: shannonspiano]
musicat Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 06/29/11
Posts: 318
Loc: San Antonio, Texas
I have an adult student who brought in an adult method book that I didn't particularly like, but she was excited that she'd already taught herself several lessons (which she did well, might I add!). I chose to use my usual transfer policy and continue in the book where she left off, since the level was appropriate. After several months, though, she became bored with the book for the same reasons I don't care for that particular method. I recently suggested she take home an Adult Piano Adventures 1 Book to try. She returned the next week and bought the book. We started on Unit 3, not because she really needed that much review on the notes, but because she is able to add so much more expression when things are easy to sight read. She also has a 2A Jazz and Blues book, which she is enjoying immensely (the supplements tend to leave out the pictures, and the song seem to be more appealing across age groups).

Personally, I find the Adult Piano Adventures book a bit too challenging for a true beginner; I prefer the Accelerated PA. This is the second time, however, I've used it with an adult who knows more than your average beginner, but needs to work on style. Every student of mine seems to really enjoy "fancying pieces up" with the duets ("four hands are more fun than two" has become a popular saying around the studio).

You might experiment with Accelerated PA and Adult PA to find a good fit for this student.

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