Thanksgiving Thanks Pre-reading Version
Here is the pre-reading version of Thanksgiving Thanks, a composing sheet for beginners.
You might notice that I’m now putting my pre-reading sheets in portrait orientation. I finally decided to stop fighting having to turn their binder sideways. Continue reading
A Composing Activity
There were so many nice things some of you told me about my last composing activity, that I thought it would be fun to make another one. One teacher even sent me a picture that is very special to me! Some children need a break if they just finished the last composing activity. Use your teacher intuition or just ask them if they want to do another one.
Since Thanksgiving is almost here, I didn’t put too many notes in this song. Students can write just a melody, or they can write a melody with chords.
I have a student who wanted to write a melody with chords. I made some composing rules for him. After he decided on a key, he wrote the I chord in the first measure. Then in the 4th measure he wrote a V7 chord. The last note had to end on the tonic note with a I chord.
The hard part was to write a melody that would sound good with the chords. I told him to use a note that was in the chord. Some other hints are to use only steps and few skips, since this is such a short song. You can play the melody to Ode to Joy and to show how Beethoven wrote a famous melody using only 5 notes with mostly steps.
Now there are those who think this is not very creative. But some children are very fearful of composing and are not the type to sit at the piano and doodle around. This gives them some structure as well as make music theory come alive. Plus it is a way to do a little bit of composing in our very limited lesson time.
I am almost finished with the pre-reading version of this song that will be fun for 5-7 year old students. I’ll post it very soon.
It’s October, a Composing Activity
It’s October is a composing activity for early elementary and young beginning students. It has been a long time since I posted a composing activity and I have never posted one for this time of the year. The one I am posting today is easy enough for students who just started lessons.
Students can compose this on the black or white keys. Below the rhythm there are some “leaves” for students to write in finger numbers to compose their melody. Depending on the age, it might take more than one week, so take your time. Please feel free to use both hands. Each line can be labeled right or left hand. At first I had some of the stems going down, but I changed it so the young composer can make that decision!
This also helps students learn their finger numbers!
Lots of Goofs!
Have you ever worked on composing with your students and noticed how much trouble they have with all the little rules about symbol placement? Sometimes students ask me why it is so important to put everything in the exact place, and I remind them that music notation has been around for hundreds of years and used by people all over the world. We are very precise so it will stay that way.
This sheet will also help students who are preparing for theory exams. As a state theory grader for many years, I noticed in particular that students put whole and half rests on the wrong line, stems on the wrong side and in the wrong direction, accidentals after the note, and flags are all over the place!
I made this for students who are about 9 and 10 years old and taking level 4 of the Texas State Theory Test, but one of my younger students asked if I would make an easier version because he thought it looked like fun. If you have any ideas of what should be on an easier version for 6 and 7 year olds, leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do!
Front BackEaster Egg Hunt
You might have seen this game last year, but I am posting it again for teachers new to this site. You will have to print on both sides, so be sure to adjust your printer settings carefully before you start. Cut them out and hide the eggs around your studio. Your younger students will be so excited when you tell them they are going on an Easter egg hunt! When they find an egg, they clap or tap the rhythm. If your students can’t clap 8th notes, print only the first side and write in the rhythms you want to use. It is a fun diversion and a nice treat at the end of a lesson. Plus, students get to practice reading rhythms! If Easter eggs are not appropriate for your students, give me a suggestion and I might be able to come up with something else.
As an aside, and coming from a music education specialist, *quarter, quarter, two eighths, quarter*, is the easiest rhythm pattern for children to clap. It is the first rhythm clapping pattern I start with. Just because eighth notes are not in beginning piano books doesn’t mean you have to wait for the second or third year of piano to learn them. Students can learn all sorts of rhythm patterns before they actually play them in their music, using syllables or words to clap the rhythm.
Here are some more Easter season activities from my website, including two composing activities for beginners. In the Music section of my website, www.susanparadis.com you can also find some beginning hymns you might be able to use. I also have a Mother’s Day composing printable.