Let's Get Outside!

Towards the end of a semester, it’s all about keeping our students engaged until the very last lesson.   Especially if summer vacation is coming.  But, how many times do you catch your students (or maybe even yourself) gazing out the window wishing they weren’t stuck at the piano.  Let’s stop fighting a losing battle & give our students what they want with piano lessons outside!

What if I told you that you could have an educationally sound, music filled lesson … outside?  Yes!

Concepts for great piano lessons outside

Almost anything can be done outside with a little creativity.  Some of the general concepts that can be practiced are:

  • Ear training
  • Composing/Improv … at least the beginning part
  • Rhythm
  • Sight Reading
  • Technique
  • Theory

And, imagine how excited your students will be to FINALLY be outside, rather than waiting until the end of lesson to get outside!

Group Lessons Outside

The oldies, but goodies

No one wants to be putting in a lot of prep time these days for lessons.  Between recitals & end of year activities, perhaps you are wanting quick wins with your students without giving up on the educational value.

It is super easy to use these quick ideas for piano lessons outside.

  • Grab a music game & play it out on the deck
  • Listen to a song & have the student complete a listening activity
  • Complete theory worksheets outside (instead of at the bench)
  • Have a student ‘air play’ their scales or a small section of music
  • Grab flashcards to drill notes/rests/symbols.

Online group lessons?

This is an idea that has intrigued me.  Could you do an outdoor online lesson?  After all, students (& teachers) are still looking longingly outside so the same goal is there.

There are some concerns though.  The main one being, will the wifi extend enough to do something with your students?  Or, will you both be forced indoors again?

Since I have some students continuing part-time over the summer holidays, this is something I’m planning on test out!  To make this a success, there are a few things that will need to happen:

  • Let parents know we are going to test out the idea & they will need a device that can be moved & something to set the device on.
  • Test it out during lesson time.  Keep the device closer to the house than the student so you can maximize the wifi range.
  • Make sure I have a backup plan in case this doesn’t work out. (Always a good rule of thumb when dealing with technology.)
  • Use a program that won’t pull on the bandwidth as much (i.e. FaceTime).
  • Keep any supplies simple & ones my families are likely to have on hand.  Text/email the list before the lesson.
  • Keep it active with no screen sharing.

In testing, we may only get just outside the front or back door.  At least we are outside!  We may not use sidewalk chalk, but there are still plenty of ways to get the wiggles out & learn while we are at it!  And, while this will take some lesson time to figure out … it also means it will be easy to set up for the rest of the summer when you see your students just needs some outside time.

Remember that not every lesson needs to be at your instrument.  Taking a break to explore & review concepts in a different way strengthens those neuropathways.  While students may think they’ve pulled the wool over our eyes, the truth is that pedagogically sound activities away from the piano (or any instrument) are an important part of making those skills stick for the long term!

Getting students moving & engaged

But, what if you could have students moving around, reviewing in a totally new way, & having a blast while doing it?  If you would like 20 more ideas for piano lessons outside that will keep your students engaged the whole lesson, click below!

Click to download 20 music activities away from the piano

What are your favourite outdoor activities?

I would love to hear from you.  What are your outdoor piano lesson ideas?  Share your ideas below.

And, if you teach online, will you be moving outside at all for lessons?


P.S. This article was originally published on June 15, 2017.  It’s been updated multiple times since then to include more fun ideas for your studio.  This update includes ideas for moving online lessons outside!

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