Our conversation after the student played his five-finger scales:
Me: “So, have you noticed that all your scales so far kind of sound the same?”
Me: “Well, that’s because they all use the exact same pattern of steps. That pattern is called ‘major.’ Major scales sound sort of happy, don’t they? But listen to what happens if I play the same position and change just the third note.”
*Plays D minor five-finger scale*
Me: “That’s called ‘minor’ position. It sounds a little different, doesn’t it? What sort of mood do you think minor sounds like?”
Not exactly what I was going for, but it cracked me up all the same.