To motivate his students to practice, piano instructor Mark Gottlieb got a little creative.
“If I wrote a song for you, would you work really hard on it?” he asked a student.
The strategy worked. He went on to write songs about the slime monster, the mini marshmallow monster, the “rotten cherry creature from Kate’s nightmare,” and the attack of the “Schmeegies” (who try to keep Maria from practicing).
Gottlieb recruited artist John Sauer to illustrate the piano music in the style of MAD Magazine. Slime and monsters cover the page margins.
Each melody coincides with a story. At recitals, parents chime in and narrate while the kids perform the music.
“Parents really get into it,” Gottlieb said. “They’re showing up the kids.”
“The Attack of the Schmeegies and Other Musical Nightmares” is available at Schmitt Music stores and Groth Music in Roseville. For more information, visit themusicofmarkgottlieb.com.