Chances are that before you ever had a formal piano lesson, you learned to play something like “Heart and Soul,” “Chopsticks,” or maybe even a bit of "Für Elise." Many of us have fond memories of being shown how to play one of these timeless tunes by a friend or family member.
What do all of these familiar pieces have in common? The allure of these pieces can be summed up in one word--PATTERNS. Each of these pieces is pattern-based, can be learned quickly, and sounds impressive when played correctly. No wonder so many people fall in love with the piano after being taught to play one of these catchy tunes!
Pattern-based music can be a powerful tool in your teaching arsenal. Want to learn how to harness the power of patterns in your studio? Read on for more about how pattern-based pieces can energize your teaching!
Patterned pieces are helpful for reluctant readers.
For students that struggle with note-reading, pattern-based pieces can be a life-saver. Not only do these pieces have fewer notes to read, they are excellent tools for teaching students to analyze and spot patterns in their music that will help them to learn to read more efficiently. As a bonus, pattern-based pieces also have the potential to be taught by rote, which can help students continue to build their technical facility and musical artistry while their note reading abilities improve.
Patterned pieces sound impressive.
Pattern-based pieces often sound more difficult than they are to play. This is perfect for students who need the motivation of an "easy win" but still want their music to sound impressive. For this reason, I often seek out patterned pieces for festival and recital selections for my students. Speaking of which...
Patterned pieces are often easier to memorize.
Do you have students that struggle with performance anxiety and memorization? Patterned pieces can be great choices for students that have difficulty memorizing their music, which can in turn give them added security when performing in recitals or festivals where memorization is required.
Patterned pieces provide opportunities for sight-reading, analysis, improvisation, and more!
You can create an entire lesson plan around a pattern-based piece! For example:
- Teach one short pattern from the piece by rote and/or by ear, with a focus on technique and musicality.
- Isolate one pattern in the music and use it for sight-reading practice.
- Have students analyze and color-code each of patterns in the music.
- Ask students to take one pattern and transpose it to a variety of keys.
- Use one of the patterns from the piece as the basis for an improvisation activity.
What do you think? Do you teach pattern-based pieces in your studio? What are your favorite pieces? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
P.S. Stay tuned! In an upcoming blog post, I will share my rote-to-reading approach for teaching a pattern-based piece using one of my own pieces from the "Perfect Patterns" series! (Click HERE if you'd like to take a look at this three-volume series, available at Piano Pronto.)