We saw their viral videos on social media, and wonder why these two piano teachers like to throw soft toys around, make kids jump or spin in class, and doing funny challenges…

and still able to produce passionate music students who excel in concerts and competitions?

And finally we got the answers when The Happy Pianist hosted Isabelle and Lawrence from Muso Music Academy from Perth Australia for 4 workshops in Singapore – The Kids and Teachers Muso Method Masterclasses.

The workshops were attended by over 100+ kids, parents and teachers, many of whom are also Happy Pianist teachers and their students. 

After spending 2 days with the Muso teachers, here’s our 3 main takeaways.

1. Different ways to teach different kids

Most kids can sit down on the piano and learn. But we know some kids can’t. Some kids can’t sit still and love to move around.

So instead of nagging or calling them to sit down, teachers can introduce some music games at the start of the lessons, to get them to jump or move around and learn at the same time.

The teacher can use flash cards and get the child to read out the note within few seconds.

or get the child to clap or jump to rhythm beats.

Or other activities that will exhaust their energy, so they can sit down later and play the piano.

And even with the kids are sitting down, there are also music and piano games that can keep the kids lessons going.


2. Kids don’t like practice or drilling, but they like to earn points, and get rewarded.

Remember the time your teacher ask you to practice some parts of a piece, 20 times, 50 times, or even 100 times?

How many kids will really practice that part 100 times until they get it right?

And even if they practice 100 times, how many did it willingly and happily, without crying or hating the piano?

But we know students have to practice again and again (aka drilling) until they play it right.

So instead of forcing them to do it, parents or teachers can create a point system, or some sort of game that the child can earn points if they practice X number of times, and practice correctly. (and if they practice wrongly, you can minus points also)

If they earn enough points, they can redeem some rewards. Rewards can be TV time or iPad time, or ice-cream (Parent and child can discuss).

Practicing becomes something they look forward to, and willingly to do so as well.


3. Use kids-friendly language that they can relate to explain musical terms.

The muso teachers showed us how they use little activities and stories to explain musical terms to the kids.

For the term Staccato, it means ‘Short and Detached’.

The normal way is to tell the child to play ‘short’ and ‘detached’ notes. Boring!

For muso, they will demo ‘staccato’ with soft toys.

They will put a small soft toy on the back of hand, and when the child play staccato right, the soft toy will jump (because the hand will also jump up).

So if the toy jumps, means the child are playing staccato right!

How about explaining to kids music in different periods?

Some classical music were composed during war times, when the people start a revolution against the people in power…

Here in Singapore, we are very safe, and we don’t experience wars or revolution. So how do you explain ‘war’, ‘sadness’, ‘revolution’ to little kids?

Here’s how Lawrence explains ‘revolution’.

Imagine one day, your mom stops you from eating popcorn. Your friends’ mom also stop them from eating popcorn.

You and your friends are very unhappy, so all of you come together to start a ‘Popcorn revolution’.

You and your friends walk down the streets shouting ‘We want popcorn, we want popcorn’ (aka protesting)… and if many people continue to do it, the mommies may give in and let you eat popcorn.

By using stories or examples that kids can relate, they can understand better, and play out the music accordingly too.


Bonus Tips:

In whatever thing we do as parents and teacher, we always use positive language, so we encourage them more instead of putting the child down.

And for any part of the lessons or practice that is boring or difficult, you can turn it into a ‘game’ or ‘challenge’. So this motivates the child to keep trying and win the challenge.

And if your student of higher level, you can try this catching game which we’ve seen some of muso videos. Where someone will interrupt the pianist by asking questions or throwing soft toys. And the pianist need to catch, throw back, and continue where he stops. 

Overall, there are a lot of fun activities that both muso teachers shared throughout the workshops and the meaning behind them, and many of these activities can be easily tweaked for other music lessons, like violin or guitar classes. too.

We’re not sure when they will be back to conduct the masterclass, but if you they do, so attend one next time!

Once again, thanks to Isabelle and Lawrence from Muso Music Academy for the workshop! 

You can follow them on their Youtube Channel or Instagram for more of their fun teaching stuffs! 

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