Last week, I introduced Jennifer Fink's Monster Dance to an 11-year-old student. It was a sight-readable piece for him - something we could put together in one lesson. The piece is written for left hand solo, though it ventures up into the treble clef partway through. Once we had worked through the key patterns, tricky moves, and looked for repeated material, he wanted to play it all the way through from the beginning.
As he played, I thought about the beloved Disney/Pixar film, Monsters, Inc. (one of my personal favorites!).
"Have you seen Monsters, Inc.?" I asked when he finished playing. "Um, yeah, of course!" he said, with a sparkle in his eye. "Have you seen Monsters University?" he asked. "Um, yeah, of course!" I said, imitating his inflection. "I was thinking - which monster is the best match for the music in Monster Dance?" "Definitely Sullivan," he said without pause. "I was thinking Sully, too," I said. "What about Mike Wazowski? What kind of music would fit his character?"
He immediately went to the high side of the piano and started playing something.
"I mean, Mike Wazowski is not scary at all," he said. "Wait. I have an idea. We'll make up a monster dance for Mike Wazowski, but you can only use the notes of C minor. You first," he said with a grin.
We shared our improvisations - his ended with the highest C on the piano.
"That's Mike Wazowski saying 'boo' - and not being scary at all!" he said. He laughed as he picked up his books and walked down the hall to meet his parents.
What a fun way to end a lesson!