Learning the fundamentals of playing an instrument might be looked at by some as somewhat of a lost art. It is important for students to learn the building blocks of playing the piano, the scales, fancy terminology, and of course, how to read sheet music. However, it is also just as important to make playing the piano fun and enjoyable as well. Sometimes, teaching the fundamentals isn’t exactly fun — that’s just the truth! The Cascade Method has a solution — incorporating the pop song method along with traditional sheet music!
My greatest goal with all of my students is to make piano practice personal by allowing students to learn the songs THEY love and WANT to learn. The Cascade Method teaches the fundamentals as well as teaches students how to learn by ear, so they can play their own versions of the popular pop songs they hear on the radio!
Yes, learning classical piano and reading sheet music are important parts of learning to play but without a motivation to practice, your students won’t be retaining as much as they could be. Playing pop songs they actually enjoy listening to results in more practice at home and more engagement in their lessons!
Practice Makes Perfect When it Comes to Piano
Something that I learned early on is that the most important way to improve as a musician is to practice regularly. Nothing is more frustrating than a student who continuously shows up to lessons but is rarely growing or improving. This truly just makes my heart sad and it usually is the result of infrequent practice.
Honestly, I can’t really blame kids who don’t practice the piano. 🙈🙊 (Yes, I just said that!!!) Personally, I remember being a little girl in piano lessons and loving the idea of mastering the art of playing the piano and being SO excited about learning the classical pieces BUT I know that’s not typically the case. 😂I learned, once I started teaching, that most students HATE learning classical music and instead would rather listen to their favorite musicians and play upbeat, known songs!
Filling in this gap is what so many young students need to become talented, passionate musicians! By finding a balance and teaching the right amount of both we are helping students reach their highest musical potential.
One of the best ways to get kids excited about learning an instrument is by using easier teaching methods so that they don’t get overwhelmed. By showing kids how to learn by ear so they can play their favorite songs that they hear on the radio, we are getting them involved and motivating them to PRACTICE! 🤩👏🏻🎶
Incorporating the Pop Song Method into your Lessons
The Pop Song Method uses chord knowledge and ear training to teach students to play by ear to figure out how to play their own versions of any song that they want to play. This method of teaching is a fun way to help students feel seen, it gets them more involved, and willing to learn.
Your students will actually want to practice when they realize that they can teach themselves literally any song they hear! Although I will say, it takes some time and practice to get to the point of being able to learn any song but it is possible. I’ve seen it happen myself, many times over!
What often happens with my students, is that the students become so excited about the pop song method that they experience a mental shift, something clicks and they are determined to master it so that they can learn any song.
It is pretty amazing to see how empowered students start to feel once they start to understand the pop song method.
Anyone can master The Pop Song Method — students and teachers alike. My Cascade Method teacher training program includes 30 units for teachers in training, so you’ll really feel covered and confident in learning this method!
I mean, just look at one of my most recent certified teachers, Mary Ely! She is retired and teaches piano on the side. She never knew how to play pop songs prior to learning Cascade Method!
Our Student Duets Book is a great resource to help keep your students enthusiastic even while teaching the classics. It uses the same engaging principles of the Cascade Method while also showing students the fundamentals of learning scales to delve deeper into their favorite duets. My goal is always to make learning fun, and this is the perfect book to do just that! By involving students in the creative process and teaching them the scales before learning the duet itself, students will gain confidence in themselves and learn the song with ease.
Bailey’s Success Story with the Pop Song Method
My long-time student, Bailey is getting ready to graduate from college and is still composing music to this day, thanks in part to the methods that I taught her back when she was a little girl. (She’s basically my little sister now!) Bailey is always picking up the latest pop songs on the radio and sending me videos of herself playing them.
I taught Bailey my “Pop Song Method” back when she was young and she’s stayed motivated enough to write her own compositions and inspire others who are in a similar process.
Bailey created her own music composition and wrote about it on her blog, “Create music for you first and then get excited to share your hard work with others. You need to believe in yourself or composition will not be possible.” I have no doubt in my mind that this science-backed method of teaching is what kept Bailey inspired to keep practicing the piano to this day.
The Cascade Method is Fun and Effective
I truly believe that the science behind my teaching methods is a big part of what motivates students like Bailey to keep going. The Cascade Method is “the fun way” of teaching that has changed the way piano teachers train their students. This method places a strong focus on sparking motivation in students by being exciting and fun.
Using fun and effective methods to teach kids to play the piano makes for well-rounded musicians. Most piano teachers don’t know how to teach outside of the box. The reality is, a lot of kids want to play and sing the songs that they hear on the radio, and being able to learn by ear and do just that can motivate them to practice and grow as musicians.
Check Out Some of Our Books That Use The Pop Song Method to Get Started!
Incorporating the Pop Song Method into your teaching plan might just be the missing piece of the puzzle for so many of your students who genuinely want to play the piano but don’t seem motivated to actually practice. The right combination of traditional piano lessons along with the Pop Song Method is the perfect recipe to churn out the most passionate, well-rounded musicians who will be sticking to the piano for their entire lives. Trust me, I’ve seen it myself.
Here are some essential books for your students:
- The Beginner Piano Book is everything a new student needs to get started with piano lessons. This book will have students playing pieces in their first lesson — no kidding! This book uses the Pop Song Method to help students learn by ear and it makes understanding rhythm reading simple and straightforward.
- Help your students master all of the classic holiday carols with our two-book Christmas favorites series! Our Christmas Favorites Book 1 (White Keys) uses the Pop Song Method to teach students over a dozen Christmas Classics.
- Since your students will naturally fly through book one with excitement, we had to go ahead and create our Christmas Favorites Book 2! From Jingle Bells to Feliz Navidad, this book contains 20 holiday classics to get your students engaged and ready to keep learning during the most magical time of year!
- We already mentioned our Student Duets Book 1 above but it’s just so good that it deserves another shout-out! This book is the perfect example of using modern teaching methods to keep students involved in learning while also teaching the mundane aspects of piano playing. We want to make learning fun but the fundamentals are still important! Student Duets is available in a Pop Song Method edition and Traditional Sheet Music edition.
- Piano Favorites Book 1 is ideal for older students and uses the Pop Song Method to teach everyone’s favorite piano classics. This book breaks out all the songs that pianists yearn to play! Watch your students run through them with ease thanks to the Pop Song Method. 😎
Make Playing Piano Fun with The Pop Song Method!
It’s okay to have some fun every now and then! Just because you’re teaching ear training doesn’t mean they will neglect reading sheet music. If anything, it actually motivates them to learn it more! Once they gain confidence in playing, they will feel like they can easily pick up on sheet music. To learn more about the pop song method, check out this blog post or visit the teacher training course page to see what it takes to become Cascade Certified!
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day and recital season approaching fast, our Piano Favorites Book is on sale for the whole month of March!
In the spirit of recitals coming up for us teachers, the Piano Favorites Book is on sale for the whole month of March for just $10!! This book will surely be a LUCKY CHARM ☘️😉 for your beginner to late beginner students. It’s filled with so many fun, impressive pieces including Pink Panther, Fur Elise, Heart and Soul, and many more! Using the Pop Song Method, this book is sure to be a major hit with your students!