Today I am sharing another inexpensive teaching tool that I find myself using again and again with my students--mini erasers! I found my lucky cat Iwako puzzle erasers (pictured on the left) on Amazon, but any small eraser will work. It just needs to be a good size to fit on the piano keys. And cuteness is always a plus!
I have found these erasers to be helpful for a variety of activities--from theory, to technique, to practice skills. I have used these with my youngest students, and even my middle- and high school students love them. So, without further ado, here are a few ways you can use these erasers with your students!
Mini erasers are the perfect size for identifying patterns on the keyboard. Place them on the piano keys to practice:
- Identifying key names, landmark notes, and high or low notes
- Finding half steps and whole steps
- Building intervals
- Building major and minor scales and chords
- Inversions of chords
Erasers make working on technique fun! Try the following technique activities with your students:
- Imagine making a “house” for the eraser to work on a rounded hand shape.
- “Ride” the eraser across the keys on the back of the hand to play a smooth legato.
- Bounce the eraser off the hand when playing staccato notes.
- Roll the eraser forward off the front of the hand when lifting the wrist to finish a phrase.
Erasers make great practice buddies! These tiny tools can be used to help students practice in a variety of ways. For example:
- Line up the erasers on one side of the music. Each time your student plays a line correctly, they can move the eraser to the other side of the music.
- As a student plays a piece, have the erasers "act out" the correct articulation, dynamics, and/or tempo for the piece.
- Have the eraser come to “investigate” when a problem arises as a student is playing a piece (wrong notes, poor hand position, etc). Ask students if they know what their tiny practice buddy spotted!
- Use the puzzle erasers to redirect students who have trouble listening and following directions. Line up 3 erasers on the piano at the start of the lesson. Each time a student shows that they aren’t listening and following directions, remove one eraser. At the end of the lesson, offer a reward for the erasers that are left on the piano.
What do you think? Do you use puzzle erasers with your students? What are your favorite ways to use them in your lessons? I would love to hear your ideas in the comments!