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Make time regularly for a family jam session where you either play along with your favorite songs or make up your own. Any musical instrument can build skills that translate to success at the piano. Rhythm instruments are wonderful and you can even make your own … my favorite trick is to fill old supplement bottles with beans or rice to use as shakers. You can paint them or cover them with collage for extra fun!
In your at-home jam band, everyone gets an instrument. Rotate instruments as needed for a sense of fairness. Start by taking turns leading the circle, by playing their name. (for example, I would play E-LIS-a-beth with four beats).
Do your best to avoid correcting the kids: simply follow their lead, especially while they are leading. Make sure they can hear your voice over your jam band sound for the next part: As a group, play fast, slow, medium, loud and soft. The main goal is to have fun … and if when you talk about the sounds you hear, try to use active listening (see the Listen Up! chapter in Piano Without Tears).
It’s fine to ask everyone afterward what their favorite part was, just try to use neutral language when talking about the music you make, in general. “We made loud sounds, quiet sounds, fast sounds, slow sounds … all kinds of sounds!”