No I’m not becoming a dragon music teacher. I just came up with a game which turned out really well.
My 8-year-old was playing a piece she’d started learning the week before. She was trying to play it at a reasonable pace, and kept hitting a wrong note, stopping, repeating the phrase and doing exactly the same thing. Eventually she’d get through, then the same thing would happen with the next phrase.
I thought, she needs to relax, slow down and concentrate a bit more.
“Let’s play a game,” I said.
“Here are the rules: You can take as LONG as you like to look at the music. Stare at at. Check what note each finger on each hand is going to play, forget about timing for now. Then play. BUT, if you make more than THREE MISTAKES in the WHOLE PIECE, we are going to EXPLODE! That’s the game.”
“WHAT? Three mistakes in the whole piece? No way! I can’t do that!”
“Yes you can. Let’s go.”
So we started. Right away she hit a wrong note. We both shrieked! “Argh! First mistake. We’re gonna die!”
The next bar, she took a LONG TIME to look at the notes…
Check each hand…
She did it again. And again.
We got through the piece with three mistakes.
“Phew! We survived! Okay, let’s go again, this time you’re only allowed TWO mistakes.”
Boom, she was on it, with the concentration of a gamer. Exclamations of “Phew!” after every line!
By the end of the lesson, she played the piece very, very slowly, with the correct note values, without mistakes. It was awesome work! Now she can work on getting it up to speed and making it sound like a piece of music!