Category Archives: Group lesson ideas

Father’s Day Beginning Composing Activity

FathersDay

Fathers Day Composing Activity

Were you a Daddy’s girl? I was. I remember my Dad sitting at his desk working while I played the piano next to him for hours. He was a wonderful audience and always so supportive, never suggesting I take a break. Since I was usually making up stuff, that is pretty amazing! Back then, my parents were told that my hands were too “small” for piano lessons. Fortunately after several years of playing by ear, they tried again and found a teacher for me!

With Father’s Day in the summer, Dads are often left out when it comes to student-made gifts. So if you are teaching in June, here is a composing activity for a Father’s Day gift.

This music is actually a remake of the one I posted about 8 years ago. I updated the entire page and even changed the hand position.

As you can see, the left hand is not in Middle C position. I have found that if students get used to putting their hands in different positions from the beginning, they learn to read by intervals easier. However, every teacher is different so feel free to “white out” finger numbers.

If you’re new to beginning composing pages, here is how to use the pre-reading page – the one without a staff.

  • The student plays the part of the page that has words using finger numbers.
  • The student makes up a tune to fit the rhythm in the part with stars, using the rhythm above the stars. The last note should be C.
  • Students write the finger numbers of their melody in the yellow stars.
  • Some students also like to write words.

I use this as a way to introduce how to write a melody, so I instruct students to end on the key note, which in this piece is C. Encourage him/her to move down or up an octave. It is fun to discuss how Dads have low voices, so my students like to move down to the bass notes for the last four measures.

Writing music on a staff is difficult for children.That is why we break it down into small steps. Since the rhythm is given to them, they can concentrate on the melody.

Of course, students also love to doodle around and make up their own pieces, like I used to do for my Dad. I encourage my beginners to memorize these “compositions” because the music is usually beyond their abilities to write down.

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Filed under Composing Activities, Group lesson ideas, Preschool Music Resources

Rhythm Dominoes – Two Levels

RhythmDominoes

Rhythm Dominoes

I almost didn’t print this new game, not because it is embarrassingly simple since that has never stopped me before. No, the problem is that in the easy version, the player who goes first always wins. But then I remembered that the reason we play these games is to reinforce music theory in a hands-on way, not to learn a life lesson. 🙂

Besides, as I played it with my younger students, I didn’t tell them and they didn’t notice. If they did, it didn’t bother them because I always let them go first anyway.

When I played the harder version with my older students,  we usually tied, and that is fine, too.

I also want to share how I made the printed dominoes strong and sturdy so they will last a long time.

So here is my version of Rhythm Dominoes, a simple way to reinforce or even teach, rhythmic values in 4/4 meter.

Levels

  • Page one is for early elementary and the second page is for late elementary.

Materials

  • White  card stock
  • Two different colors of colored card stock
  • Glue Stick (I used Elmer’s Xtreme®)
  • Strong scissors
  • Optional: Laminating film

Construction

  • Use sturdy card stock to print the page you plan to use.
  • Spread glue on the entire back of the printable. I used a liberal amount of glue stick. Do not leave any spots glue-free.
  • Carefully glue the printed page to a blank sheet of colored card stock.
  • Laminate the pages that are glued together and cut out the dominoes.
  • Repeat with the second level of the printed page, using a different color of card stock to help you keep the levels separate.
  • If you want to use this in group lessons, consider printing 2 pages of each level.

Directions

  • Mix up the dominoes and divide them between the players.
  • The youngest player goes first and places a double domino on the table.
  • The second player places a matching domino next to the domino on the table, connecting the two. Players may match with a note, number, or rhythm pattern.
  • Two numbers (inside the colored circles) cannot be matched together.
  • If a player doesn’t have a match, he/she skips a turn.
  • Continue taking turns placing dominoes on the table, snaking them around the table.
  • The first player to run out of dominoes is the winner. If neither player has a match, the player with the fewest remaining dominoes is the winner.
  • You can certainly make up your own rules to this game. Variations include passing out 5 dominoes to each player and putting the remainder in a pile to draw if the player does not have a match.

Objective

  • Students will learn to quickly identify rhythm patterns and notes of equal value in 4/4 meter.
  • Students will match rhythmic note values in 4/4 meter.

 

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Filed under Games, Group lesson ideas, Rhythm

LadyBug Game Revised

LadyBugGame

Lady Bug Game Board

LadyBug Game Cards

This is one of my favorite games. It’s fast and fun and I think it’s a good game to play this time of year. I’ve revised it and remade the keyboard cards.

Game Board

  • I suggest printing the colorful game board on photo paper and then laminating it so the colors really come to life. It can also be taken to an office shop. MTNA members, use Office Depot/Max and receive a big discount.

Cards

  • Before you print the cards, decide which pages you want to use. Please don’t print all the pages at once because the last page is the optional backs.
  • Print on card stock. They do not have to be laminated.
  • There are 5 pages of cards.
  • Pages 1-3 are notes on the staff.
  • Page 4 has keyboard cards.
  • Page 5 is the optional back of the cards. After printing the cards on pages 1-4,  insert the pages back into your printer to print the back of the cards. Please see my FAQ for a tutorial on how to do this.

Directions

  • This game can be played with students or teacher and student.
  • Each player has a token.
  • The cards are placed face down next to the game board.
  • The first player draws a card and moves their token forward along the path to the closest letter that matches the note on their card.
  • The next player draws and moves in the same way.
  • The game is over when someone draws a card that takes them to the last G or any note after the last G at the end of the path.
  • There are many games you can play with this game board.  Use your own ideas and I hope you have fun!

Objectives

  • To learn the music alphabet.
  • To learn to recognize notes on the grand staff or keys on a piano keyboard.
  • To reinforce learning steps and skips.

Ages

  • Early childhood and elementary ages.

Why I like this game

  • It’s fast, under 3 minutes, students always like it.
  • Children learn faster if they are having fun.
  • It’s a great game for beginners to learn piano key names.
  • The game is so fast, you can play more than once.

 

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Filed under Games, Group lesson ideas, Music Printables, Note Identification, Preschool Music Resources

Piano Camp Course by Jennifer Foxx

 

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This cute picture is a piano camp put on by Jennifer Foxx.

Jennifer Foxx and I have known each other for years, first on message boards (several in fact) a long time before Facebook, and then finally in person when we met at a MTNA convention. Jennifer is an expert in group piano games and activities for piano camps. She has been conducting them for many years and she knows the answer to everything, camp wise. She’s realistic, and she know what does and does not work. You might know Jennifer for her excellent tech reviews and suggestions on her blog.

She is now offering her expertise in the form of a video course for piano teachers. Maybe you’ve considered having a camp but you just don’t know how to get started. Or you like the idea, but don’t know where you can go to find games and activities.  This course will teach you everything you need to know and give you the confidence to try a music camp yourself!

I want to share her website with you where you can get all the information you need to sign up for her camp. And if you have questions, just ask her! She is always quick to respond!

http://music-educator-resources.teachable.com

 

[Disclosure: These opinions are my own and I received no compensation.]

 

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