Too Many Minuets

Let's face it. There are too many teaching pieces called Minuet, Sonatina, Dance and Etude.  (Yes, I know there is great information to be gleaned from teaching a child to dance said Minuet or Allemande or Gigue. I get it.)

Surfing the Big Waves

But humor me. The next time you teach one, try changing the title. No, I don't mean that you should play it on a competition or festival while calling the Bach Minuet in G, "Surfing the Big Waves". But I do mean that whiting out a title and giving the child a chance to be a little creative can re-engage an otherwise indifferent student.

Here's a Table of Contents for a typical Level 2, late elementary book:

Allemande, Minuet, Gavotte, Minuet, Minuet, Quadrille, Minuet, Minuet, Dance

Enough already. I'm bored. And I know and like all these pieces! I've even recorded all these pieces. I love to teach each and every one of them.

For just a moment, let's think about the child on the piano bench. Wouldn't a kid rather pick from these choices?

Sand Dollar, Triple Trouble, Slipping Around, Elegance, Surfing the Big Waves

Mind you, I spent exactly one minute on this list. I just glanced at the pieces and wrote down the first thing that came into my mind.

I usually let my students do the dreaming. What does this piece sound like? What does it remind you of? Sometimes I'll play it for them, sometimes I'll play a recording. (OK, sometimes I'll play a recording of me playing.)

You can call it a "working title" if that makes you more comfortable, but I'll bet your students will appreciate it. If it's too wild and crazy for you to white out the title, just use a post-it note or two to cover up the original.

Not to mention the fact that moving from Minuet to Minuet doesn't exactly demonstrate a great sense of achievement. 

"What did you do at your lesson this week, William?" 

"I finished the Minuet," says William.

"What new piece did you get?" 

"Minuet."

Do you have a student you know who could use a new title for their Minuet?

Bonus Tip:
Use the web to find an image that looks like your newly titled piece.

Print it out and use it as inspiration.