5 creative piano practice activities to get your kids practicing more

As a piano teacher, I often have parents ask me how they can get their kids to practice more.

While there is no magic bullet to get the practice we hope for, I’ve found that when creativity is central to practice, kids are more likely to enjoy their time at the piano.

And enjoyment = more time spent playing the piano.

Here are 5 activities to encourage creative piano practice. 

>>> Get the free creative piano practice weekly planning sheet to start practicing with these activities.

1. Rearrange a song

I’m not talking about creating a new arrangement in the traditional sense!

Toy analogy: Mr. Potato Heada

Pretend your song is Mr. Potato Head and experiment with moving components of the song around.

Possibilities at the piano:

  • Play the notes in reverse order, from end to beginning. You can do this for the whole song or just a section of the song.
  • Play the melody (written for the right hand in the treble clef) with the left hand in the bass clef, and vice versa.
  • Change the order that phrases are played.

2. Merge two songs

Even if they seem very different, most songs are built from the same musical building blocks.

Toy analogy: LEGO® setsb

Pretend each song is a different LEGO® set. Take some parts of each and combine them to make a new creation.

Possibilities at the piano:

  • Take the bass pattern of one song and use it in another.
  • Play the melodic contour of a song using the rhythm of another.

3. Change the mood

Ever notice the same toy can be played with quite differently?

Toy analogy: Cars and dolls

If your song were a car, how could you play with it like it’s a doll? If it were a doll, how could you play with it like it’s a car?

Possibilities at the piano:

  • Change the tempo (fast/slow)
  • Change the dynamics (loud/soft)
  • Change the articulation (bouncy/smooth)
  • Change the rhythm (straight/swing, or use the rhythm of a spoken phrase like “peanut butter pancakes”)
  • Change the mode (major/minor)

4. Make it a duet

Even if you’ve never played the piano, you can find ways to play together with your child.

Game analogy: Double solitaire

  • Even a game that’s meant to be, well, solitary, is more fun with someone else. How can you turn a song meant for one into a song played by two?

Possibilities at the piano:

  • Ask your child to show you how to play the left-hand part of a song. If it’s too complex, focus on just learning the first note of each measure or the bassline.
  • Improvisation! If one of you knows how to play a chord progression in C major, the other can play any of the white keys to improvise as the chord progression is played.

5. Make your own music

There’s no need to only play songs other people created – you can create your own songs, too!

Toy analogy: Homemade armor

  • My boys love to use cardboard and duct tape to fashion their own swords and shields. Use materials you have on hand (from songs you already know) to create your own music.

Possibilities at the piano:

  • If you know how to play chord progressions, play one in the left hand while you improvise with your right hand. You can even start by just playing the scale up and down, changing the rhythm as you go.
  • Using an audio recording app while you improvise is a great way to start composing. You can listen to the recording and incorporate parts you like into a composition.
  • Start with the bassline or accompaniment (usually played by the left hand) of a song you know. Listen to the bassline / accompaniment, then start humming or playing along to create a new melody.

Ready to try out these ideas at home?

>>> Get the free creative piano practice weekly planning sheet to get started with your kids at home.

Here's a preview of the planning sheet. 

The front page is where you make and track your plan:

The back page has descriptions and examples of each activity:


a Mr. Potato Head is a trademark of Hasbro, Inc. which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this site.

b LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO Group of companies which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this site.

Categories: : Practicing