Sparking Creativity with Your Piano Students | Music Composition/Games

by Jennifer Foxx


Students need creative opportunities to flourish in their music studies. Here are just 3 simple ways you can get started in sparking creativity with your students.

Improvise and/or Compose – I will confess that occasionally there will be some students who will groan when told we are going to be composing that day. Why do you think that is? It’s usually because

they are not confident in those skills. To help with creative confidence, start with improvising. Give them an easy “no fail” base line to work with so no matter what they do it will sound awesome. Black key improv patterns works very well for this! Then gradually work over to composition.

This year in my piano studio, I have created “Creative Story Compositions** where students are combining two skills: Story writing and music composition. Even some of my more stubborn creators are enjoying this process. I have them do a page each month to gradually build their complete story composition. Giving them smaller guidelines to work with has really helped and I have enjoyed seeing their creative process in work.

Play Games – Games are a fun way to encourage creativity. Whether it is an app, a puzzle or something a student makes up; games have a way of igniting their brains, shaping them towards the creative thinking process. The best games that encourage creativity are games without “rules” where there isn’t necessarily a winner/loser but a tool that simply encourages creativity.

Make it Part of the Learning Process – One of my favorite things I like my
students to do over the summer is a practice prop project. A practice prop project is simply something that students create that represents their practicing. The great thing about these projects, besides encouraging practicing, is that they are creating something. I’ve had students create theory games, write compositions, art projects, computer animations and much more. I’m always amazed at the projects that students come up with. Alone, the projects are pretty neat, but then you add the element of practice that was represented behind them and it makes it even cooler; all of the sudden that project means more to them. It represents hard work, dedication and most of all creativity.

Creativity + Engagement = Positive results! So make time for creativity with your students. Light that SPARK! It’s in them ready to come out!

Jennifer Foxx