Giant Playable Floor Keyboard

Does anyone else remember watching this scene from the movie “Big” and wishing for a piano like this???

I’ve always thought that it would be REALLY fun to have something like that in my studio, so was very excited to run across this smaller 6′ version in a catalog earlier this year:

I ordered one immediately!  This is called a “Big Keyboard Fun” mat, and retails for $39.95.  It’s a little on the pricey side for a teaching “toy”, but in my studio, it’s been worth every penny!! (Note: I happened to get mine on sale for 25% off right before Christmas… if you check this out on Amazon you can add it to a wish list and watch for future sales.)

I have a lot of wiggly little ones (and wiggly not-so-little ones!) in my studio this year, so we’ve found LOTS of ways to get off the bench use this fun teaching aid.  Here are a few:

Spot Practice & Memory Work:  Students who balk at repeating a tricky phrase over and over at the piano have had NO complaints when I ask them to repeat it over and over with their feet!  The large scale of the keys also helps some students “map out” and remember pitch patterns better (they have to THINK before they move to a key, not just flop fingers down).

Rhythm Work: Playing bigger keys means using bigger muscles (legs or arms), which makes it easier for students to feel a steady pulse.   After a handful of repetitions, students have the “steady” sound in their ears and can move back to play at the piano.   Stepping rhythms is also an excellent way for students to experience durations and rhythm patterns.

Sightreading: I’ve been using the keyboard mat and Giant Sightreading Cards to kick off lessons this week.   No surprise… my students think this is WAY more fun than sightreading at the piano!

Flashcards: Even drilling those pesky bass clef notes becomes fun with a toy like this!  (Giant Flash Cards come in handy any time you’re adding movement to flash card drills.)

If any of the rest of you have similar keyboard mats, or activities you use them for I’d love to hear about them!


Giant Playable Floor Keyboard — 4 Comments

  1. That is so cool. I remember that part of the movie, how fun! The mat you found, and the sight-reading cards and flash cards look great. Your blog is very inspiring! I’m going to be starting my own piano studio soon, and I’m so glad to have found your blog for ideas and inspiration. 🙂

  2. I’ve just discovered your site and I love it! Thanks for sharing so many resources! I’ve recently started home piano teaching after years of being an elementary music teacher. I love how you recognize the need to use kinesthetic movement for piano lessons! One activity that has worked well with the big piano (especially the older ones) is prior to playing scales on the piano, we “map it out” on the floor piano. I have coasters from ikea that look like large notes, but you could use anything. I call out a scale and before playing, the student places a coaster per key to map out the scale. Then they play it on the floor piano to make sure it is correct. This helps with two things – visually identifying the scale’s sharps or flats, and if there is an error as they play the scale, they have the opportunity to make the correction by ear (or by T-S pattern) and then visually see the scale again. We then head over to the piano to play the scale. This has motivated my students who find scales boring on the piano. Even the 10 year old loves to play the scale on the floor piano and finds it a fun challenge to map it correctly on the first try.

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