Performances, Teaching Piano

Audience In A Bottle

A couple of weekends ago, I attended a fantastic Piano Pedagogy Seminar at Ohio University.  The featured clinician was Dr. Peter Mack — an Irishman from Seattle who is a fantastic teacher with a wonderful sense of humor.

During one of the sessions, Dr. Mack told us that in his studio there are lots of teddy bears and dolls, as well as masks on the walls.  He told us that it was so that his students would always feel that they had an audience to play for.  Can you imagine having all those eyes watching you during a piano lesson?  haha!

While I’m not particularly interested in using masks or teddy bears to decorate my studio, I am interested in getting my students to listen to themselves more and play as if an audience is listening.  🙂   Thus, I created this silly little prop.  What do you think?!


I call it my “Jar of Eyes” or my “Audience in a Bottle.”  🙂  I haven’t used it on any unsuspecting students yet, but I anticipate it will be highly effective to bring out the next time I think a student could use a reminder to play as if an audience is listening/watching.  😉

I bought the little glass jar (it is only about 2.5 inches in diameter) at Hobby Lobby some time back for about $2.  I already had all those different craft eyes in my bin of craft supplies.  If you’d like to create your own jar of eyes, I’m sure you can find various sizes of googly eyes at any craft store.

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11 thoughts on “Audience In A Bottle”

  1. This is just awesome! What a great idea. I just have to go find some googly eyes now! 🙂 My students will love it, even the older ones. More than teddy bears for sure! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  2. Very cute idea! My bonus assignment next week just happens to be “play a song for a stuffed animal,” because I agree that students do need that practice. With you’re idea, now I’m tempted to start gluing googly eyes to all of their piano pieces! I think I will start mentioning to them that the graphic on their page is “listening.”

    1. I love that idea, Rachel! I can think of some students who would love to open their book and find a pair of googly eyes looking back at them! 😉

  3. Hi Joy
    I just wanted to thank you for your site and the time and energy you put into it. I have been teaching piano for 35 years and am forever searching for new ideas and approaches to things. Your printables are wonderful. This summer a few of my students did a summer camp using your composer lap book studies. It was awesome! They loved doing the lap books. Thank you, thank you thank you!

  4. I love this! Visual reminders are very important, but, like you, I don’t intend to hang up masks. This is a great idea.

  5. Awesome idea, Joy! My students frequently bring in their stuffed animals to ‘listen’ and I put them in a special chair. It’s funny how the little things get their minds working in a different direction then just ‘I’ll play this piece and get it over with and go home.’ I will def. be trying this soon!

  6. Love this idea, Joy! I think I need an “Audience in a Bottle” in my studio now, too! I would have loved to attend that seminar at Ohio State, but it just didn’t work out for me this year. I’ve heard Peter Mack a couple of times at the MTNA conferences and always enjoy him. Are you going to be doing any other posts about the Ohio State seminar? I’d love to know what you thought of it!

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