The Most Unusual Item in My Studio

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Kansas Music Teachers Association’s annual summer conference.   At our first lunch session, we were given discussion prompts to encourage conversation with colleagues at our tables.   One topic was particularly fun, so I thought I’d share it here:  

What is the most useful or unusual item in your studio?

Most of my table came up with something useful.  My brain went immediately to “unusual,”   (which is probably not a surprise to you if you’ve followed this blog for any length of time. :)).  

Anyone want to guess what this “most unusual” item from my studio is?


If you guessed “big yellow shower poof”, you’re correct!  Standard equipment in any music studio, right?!?

I ran across this at a Walgreens store, on a spring break trip to Florida a couple of years ago.  It’s turned out to be the one of the best 49-cent investments I’ve ever made.   I keep it on a shelf by my piano, within easy arm’s reach of where I sit.  It works magic on students with wiggly hands (the kind of hands that are prone to “doodling” on the keys).  Whenever we reach a point in a lesson where I need a student to take their fingers off the keyboard and concentrate on listening, I can hand them the poof to keep their fingers occupied, and provide an outlet for their wiggly energy.  That little bit of tactile stimulation can make a BIG difference in their ability to engage in conversation, or listen and watch as I demonstrate something.  

I’m curious to know… what’s the most unusual or useful item in your studio?   If you’ve got something fun and unique, please leave a comment and share!


The Most Unusual Item in My Studio — 16 Comments

  1. Something unusual in my studio is my EASY button from Staples…you know, the one you push and the voice says, “THAT was easy!” I let the kids push it after accomplishing something they anticipated would be hard. They all get a kick out of it. I say one in French at a thrift store but didn’t get it. Should have as that would have been fun.

    • That’s a good one, Cecilly! I have one of those in my studio, too, and I haven’t met a student (or parent) who didn’t get a kick out of it. 🙂

  2. In my studio I too need quiet fingers on many occasions. So I bought a small bumpy hand stress reliever. Kids love it. In fact it went missing for a few months and everyone was glad when I found it. The ball is squishy which adds to the enjoyment.

  3. Wow! What a great idea. I need something like this for my wiggly preschoolers.

    I don’t think I have any unusual items but I do find a little stuffed elephant to be very useful to coax shy young kids to enter the studio and leave mum & dad.

  4. Unusual-looking and extremely useful: my Hairy Maraca. It’s a black plastic maraca with long neon pink plastic strands streaming from its head. I took it home from a bat mitzvah years ago. My students love using it for rhythms!

  5. I have a small, soft vinyl soccer ball that’s a little bigger than most small ones. It is the perfect size to lightly hold and get a curved hand position.

  6. Two things – a small squishy ball with a smiley face – good for rhythm throwing and hand position formation.
    – a wiggly vinyl fish – like a blow fish with wiggly spines (also comes in balls) This is also good for rhythm tossing and busy fingers. Unfortunately seems to melt when washed!

  7. I have at least 2 things in my studio right now that my students think is unusual. A life sized wooden hand with bendable fingers/knuckles/wrist that I picked up at a Barnes & Noble store. I use it to show hand and finger shape. Second item is a black halloween cat with an arched back to use along with Fabers Piano Adventure book (The Cat Back song) Sometimes I will place an unusual item on the piano just to get the curiosity of my students. They like to guess what it will be used for in their piano lessons.

    • I LOVE that you have a hand model in your studio! The featured clinician at our state conference this summer was a wellness expert, and used a hand model to demonstrate a number of things about anatomy and technique that really clicked with me. I’m excited to hear that Barnes & Noble has them – I may have to go hit their website now!

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  9. The most useful aid for me last year was a large Brightly coloured furry parrot that squawks. I use it to remind pupils to “SLOW DOWN” If the parrot squawks they know they are going too fast to cope. They chose the name. He is Percival (Percy for short). I love the Idea of having a “fiddle toy”, and picked up a frondy jellyfish last week. I’m sure that my “doodlers” will love it.Thanks for all the wonderfully imaginative ideas. Please keep them coming

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