Understanding Intervals On and Off the Bench

Understanding Intervals On and Off the Bench


Innovative, tech-savvy and engaging activities for you to implement immediately into private or group lessons on and off the bench.

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Mastering the sound of intervals can help playing-by-ear skills. Mastering the look of intervals can help reading skills as reading two notes and patterns is far more efficient than reading one note at a time.

Dedicating lesson time to just one interval can introduce the concept of measuring space between pitches to beginners, reinforce the look and feel of intervals for those with a couple of years at the piano and can focus on the complexity of Major, Minor, Perfect and Augmented for more experienced players.

Consider using this resource yearly or every other year or every three years to revisit and build on the theory behind intervals.


Each page provides lesson ideas surrounding an interval. Two lessons are dedicated to each interval. The first lesson or Week #1, focuses more on experiencing the interval through the ear and by playing or creating with it. Week #2 features assignments targeted around how the interval looks on the staff and finding it in repertoire.

Each lesson includes four sections: On the Bench, Off the Bench, Extend and Links.


The first of each lesson plan includes an “opener”—similar to an ice breaker—that you can do with your students at the piano. It’s an activity created to immediately engage students as well as teach them something. It’s meant to be a short learning experience that you continue to reference throughout the lesson so students see how to apply what they just learned. Pause for teachable moments frequently to help make the connections throughout the lesson.


For those of you who offer a Lab or Music Tech Time, this section offers assignments to reinforce the opener including a handful of apps. I purposely selected only a few so that if you want to try the Off Bench Time, you won’t need an excessive amount of apps. There are plenty that I did not include so plan to amplify assignments with your favorite if you don’t find them here. For a more thorough listing of apps dedicated to intervals, see my Music App Directory.

Apps featured:

  • Blob Chorus

  • Flashnote Derby

  • Kahoot

  • iBooks (you’ll need this app to read Understanding Intervals)

  • iReal Pro

  • MusiClock

  • Note Quest

  • Show Me

  • SproutBeat Leap Games (Beta, Free Version)

  • Tenuto

  • The Royal Conservatory of Music Apps Theory Prep, Theory 1, Theory 2, Theory 3

  • Theta Music Trainer (Free version)


This is a special section reserved for resources that can amplify students’ experiences with each interval. I collected ideas from other clever teachers and let my imagination run wild! I am excited about Samantha Coates Rote Repertoire and therefore included pieces that feature the interval for the week. I encourage you to find your own repertoire and activities. too. Stay tuned for more to come at 88pianokeys.me.



It’s designed for those who

  • Want engaging lesson openers that teach, too.

  • Like to integrate the iPad and the best apps into their teaching.

  • Are intrigued by Off Bench time in their studios and want concrete plans and suggestions for what apps to use.

  • Want dynamic, engaging off bench activities for private and group lessons.


The resource provides ideas for

  • studio-wide units

  • activities for group lessons

  • assignments for Off Bench time

  • how to isolate and teach concepts like intervals


Reminder: After your purchase, you will receive an email from Leila Viss via Squarespace.

This will include your exclusive link to the digital resource. 

Click on the link to download.

This link will expire 24 hours after it's first clicked.

If you have any questions, please contact me at leilaviss88@gmail.com