Here’s How The Saga Land Series Can Inspire, Motivate, and Keep Your Teenage Students
Beautiful And Exciting Piano Music That Is Pedagogically Sound, Written In The Style Of Video Game Music
Imagine a fictional video game set in a “land of epic and endless stories”. The highly themed music draws you into a world of fantasy and imagination. Combine that with accessible, patterned piano pieces that sneak in concepts intermediate students should know, and you’ve got Saga Land.
The Saga Land Series is comprised of 2 digital collections called Saga Land (Video Game Style Adventures for Piano-11 selections) and Saga Land 2 (The Sequel-10 selections). These are both available as studio licensed collections for early to mid-intermediate piano only at MelodyPayne.com.
These are a great value!
If you purchase both volumes you get 21 high quality pieces that teens love, and mp3 recordings for all of them. I’ve even made a specially priced bundle of both collections just for this post. Here’s the value breakdown: If you use the series with just 6 students, the cost is only $10 per student. That’s $5 per book per student. That’s $.47 per piece! Also, you will own the mp3s and can conveniently share them to any device you like. You don’t need to login somewhere or get a secret code to listen. Click here to see special pricing for this bundle.
Click below to listen to samples.
Video of Storming the Gate (with introductory chord teaching tips), from Saga Land
What inspired Saga Land?
The Saga Land series was inspired by the beautiful video game music I would hear in my children’s games. Mario Galaxy for wii was one of my favorites as a tired mom (of 3 little boys, at the time), and the first video game that allowed me to see that this style of music could be of a high quality and well-composed. On cold days when my youngest son wanted to log in to this one-player game after kindergarten and lunch, it was zen time for mom! The other-worldly visuals and the spacious, soothing music lulled me into relaxation. Instead of trying to avoid the escapism that video games offer (my usual), I actually started to become a fan of being transported by the video game’s music.
Then I heard the fabulous soundtrack to the game “Dancing Line.” If you haven’t checked this out, you need to. It’s a simple app-based game that requires you to tap the screen in the rhythm of the soundtrack to guide your line through various maze-like levels. The music is well-written and appeals to a wide range of ages. This realization got me thinking, why not create beautiful video game music without the video game? And then I went a step further and decided I could even make it good for you!
Click below if you’d like to hear a short sample of the Dancing Line music.
So Saga Land isn’t a video game I’ve never heard of?
No. Saga Land is intended to replicate the style of video game music while incorporating pedagogical concepts. The point is to allow and inspire students to imagine the action in the fictional video game and recreate it on the piano. It’s an invaluable tool in your arsenal for motivating students to play musically!
Inspiration for the themes of the collections came from a few different places. For instance, I like to use names of actual characters in my life, like my piano mascots, Australian Shepherds Luna and Leo! Other themes have been chosen to attempt to transport players to another land (or world, or level) and create a strong image that students can resonate with and bring to life.
You’ll find challenge levels where you can just imagine yourself a player, frantically trying to adding points, money, or lives to your caché. And still other selections bring to mind a detailed, realistic character, wandering through an unfolding universe, exploring all types of beautiful, mystical, and sometimes dangerous features in their surroundings along the way.
The Saga Land pieces have "beautiful patterns that sound complicated yet are accessible to students of all
ages and levels" - Jaclyn Mrozek, piano teacher
How do I use Saga Land and Saga Land 2 in lessons?
Teachers can use these collections in different ways to suit their teaching style, and their students’ learning styles!
The independent student
- open the book and play
- the patterned pieces are very accessible for most lower level intermediate students
- both volumes sound (and feel) incredible on acoustic and electric pianos
- you can hear above how amazing Forest Canopy (Saga Land) sounds using a synthesizer setting
The under-motivated student
- insert the separate pieces into your teen’s or tween’s repertoire whenever a little extra motivation is needed.
- instead of letting students feel like they need to take a break from practicing, you’ll inspire them to practice more
- remove one of their usual books from the rotation and swap in pieces from Saga Land
- the studio licensed format makes sharing simple
- you don’t have to worry about purchasing multiple copies and can share as much as you like
- you can message a piece to your student near their lesson, or print it for them during their lesson.
The virtual student
- all digital format allows teacher and student to view all selections on their own devices
- the high quality mp3’s are already prepared for you and ready to share
The rote learner
- ideal for students who play much better than they read
- support and encourage their unique learning style and teach these patterned pieces by rote.
- set up your camera (iphone for me) over your keys and video while you demonstrate and teach the piece live to your student in lesson either in chunks or by page
- shoot the video to a home device to assist in weekly practice
- plan a recital of mostly video game music to inspire your students and make families happy
- don’t be surprised if you become the most popular teacher in town!
- start with music from well-known video games of your choice, then supplement your repertoire with selections from Saga Land
- if you have the option of making the whole Saga Land series into a recital of its own…that would be amazing!
- teens could not only perform in the recital, but take ownership of its planning
- they can perform it for the rest of your studio
- the younger students will be to so excited to continue their study with you
- not only a fabulous marketing tool, but it encourages fellowship among pianists which has been proven to help retain students.
The deep-digging teacher
- pedagogical concepts are sort of overflowing out of these volumes
- I talked about the use of chords/inversions in Storming the Gate at the top of this article, but I had many more suggestions, so here are links to a couple more videos showing how to take these pieces even further
The creative teacher
Center a multi-disciplinary studio project around the Saga Land series. These selections are perfect for a project that incorporates multiple audio-visual and creative learning opportunities, not to mention team building and communication skills. A flow of learning could look like this:
- students select and begin learning the piece(s) of their choice, or you assign
- players come up with a plot or storyline for the action that could be taking place in the selection, offer examples to get students’ imaginations flowing
- add musicality and more directive details in the music to fit the story you have come up with together (see video 2 above for how this looks) and enjoy working together to decide how various elements might be portrayed musically
- have students create videos to match the expressive and musical stories they have created by using one of these basic and free options: vimeo, canva, or imovie.
Here is an example of a video I made to accompany Battle of Meridia (Saga Land), made with imovie which came free on my mac.
- remember to obtain your images legally from places like pexels.com
- add the challenge that various plots and pieces should work together as one unified storyline and the order of selections should have a logical flow
- facilitate the planning of a recital with your teens so they can share their music and videos, and charge students with
- creating programs
- posting or printing ads
- if a live recital is planned, making decorations and planning a reception
- put on a live recital for the rest of the studio or let the teens have their own night
- students can describe their part of the storyline before they perform
- play the student-created videos on a large screen behind the student while the student plays live (have students practice with their video ahead of time for timing)
- put on a virtual recital
- record your students performing their pieces and set the audio to the video they created
- have them read their fictional plot as a voice over and attach to their video
- put the videos together in one long video and upload to youtube or upload each video individually and put them in one playlist
- have a watch party either live and include refreshments, or virtual and enable comments to encourage interaction, and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
If you have any questions about how to do any of the aspects of video creating or how the Saga Land series can help your students thrive, please reach out to me. I’m happy to help!
I’m so excited about what Saga land can do in your studio!
Remember to grab the bundle here, discounted heavily just for you. Best wishes!
It’s easy to access your SL and SL2 scores digitally across your studio, and these pieces sound (and feel) great on electric instruments. Please comment on this post if you would like me to post an article filled with inspiration and tips for going further with using the Saga Land series on a digital instrument.
Other blog posts to help you teach teens:
- Teaching Scales, Chords, And Arpeggios Using The Superstar Scales Piano Technique Book
- Building a Foundation of Mutual Trust in Piano Lessons
- Envisioning Lifetime Goals for Our Students’ Involvement in Music
- Save Time With Over 200 Print-and-Go Music Theory Worksheets!