Composer Memory Game

Composer Memory Game

Composer Memory Game

Would you like your students to learn a little bit about famous composers, but you don’t have a lot of lesson time? I’ve made a set of composers you can cut out and glue on the inside of a milk caps. I used card stock and Elmer’s ‘Extreme School Glue Stick’.

If you don’t have a set of caps available, ask your piano parents to collect them for you. My students really enjoyed bringing the caps to me. I have enough now to last as long as I teach piano!

If you don’t have caps, the printable is made with a cutting grid, so you can cut out the composers as small cards. However, my students really liked the milk caps and thought they were a lot of fun, so I encourage you to make them that way.

I had a hard time deciding which composers to include. If I’ve left off your favorite classical composer, leave a comment and when I get enough suggestions, I’ll make a second set!  Stick to the old composers because the portraits of modern composers are protected by copyright, although I can use just their name and not a picture.

An important part of the game is for students to say the composer’s name as they turn over the cap to help them learn the correct pronunciation. After a while, they will be saying Tchaikovsky and Chopin like a pro!

This printable is for private use only. You are welcome to print this and use it with your students. Please read the first page and follow the terms of use included in the PDF.

Objective

  • To become familiar with the names of the great classical composers.
  • To learn how to pronounce their names.
  • To reinforce visual recognition skills.

 Ages

  • All ages of students.

 Number of Players

  • Two or more players. The teacher can play with a student, or students can play in groups.

Materials

  • Sixteen plastic beverage caps (lids) the size of milk jugs.
  • The PDF printable included in this post.
  • Scissors and glue stick to construct the playing pieces.
  • If caps are not available, the cards can be cut out and used.

Directions

  • Print and cut out the pictures of the composers, cutting them in small circles that fit the inside of the lids.
  • Glue the composer pictures on the inside of the plastic caps.
  • Place the caps on a table, face down, with four rows and four columns and the composer face not visible.
  • Players take turns selecting two caps and turning them to the picture side to see if they match.
  • Students say the names of the composers as they turn the caps.
  • If the two caps are the same, the player gets to keep them. If not, they return the caps to the same spot, face down again.
  • Play continues until all the caps are matched.

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2014-2015 Calendar, Key Signature Chart, and Reminder Cards


2014-2015 Calendar Set

Calendar 2014-2015

It’s time to start planning for fall semester lessons. An organized studio is a happy studio where parents and students know well in advance what is coming up!

There are 3 pages in this document, a calendar, a matching key signature chart and a set of reminder snail-mail postcards.

This 2014-2015 calendar is designed for you to type your studio events in the center. I suggest you put dates for:

  • Festivals, including sign-up deadlines
  • Recitals
  • Holiday breaks
  • Days your studio will be closed
  • Group lesson dates
  • Deadlines to memorize music for events

After you print the calendar, measure where you would like to set your margins in a word processing program like Word or Pages. Here are the margins I used:

  • Left – 2.50
  • Right – 1. 25
  • Top – 1. 25
  • Bottom – .75

Calendar Binder Cover

However, the margins are going to depend on your printer and the font size you choose. I suggest using only one font with a size of around 11. The above photo uses 11 point Arial.

In the first line, I put my studio email address. In the second line, I added my phone number where parents can text me if they are running late. Skip several lines and start your studio schedule on the left margin. When you finish, go back and center the headings. I also increased the font size and changed the color.

After printing the calendars, place them in the see-through cover of the student’s binder. On the back of the binder, you can insert the key signature chart. I always feel like the more they see it, the more familiar it becomes.

Once you get used to using binders with your students, you will never want to use any other kind of assignment book. You can use dividers for music, scales, theory, downloads from the web, etc. Feel free to use my assignment pages, found here, Assignment Page, and the one for young students here, Assignment Page for Young Students.

Now when your forgetful students ask, “When does my sonatina have to be memorized?” or “What day is the theory test?” tell them to look on their binder. They usually say rather sheepishly, “Oh, yeah.”

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Fifteen Keys – A Key Signature Game

Fifteen Keys

 Fifteen Keys

In our state theory test, students in the 6th grade need to know all of the major key signatures.  Minor keys are added in the 7th grade.  Like many teachers, I show them how to use a chart to help with accuracy and possible careless mistakes.

This year I made a board game to give students some guided practice in using a chart and learning key signatures. First we downloaded a blank chart and filled it out. You can get it below.

Key-Signature-Chart-Blank

Blank Key Signature Chart

I encourage you to use this chart with the game, too, unless your students are very experienced in key signatures. One good thing about this game is that by using the chart, even beginning students can play.

I had fun making the cards for this game.  Some of the cards have silly riddles and puns on the word “key.”  I hope your students enjoy the humor. I thought of more riddles after I made the cards, and if you think of any, let me know!  The answers to the riddles are here.*

This game is similar to the Nine Keys Game that I posted a few years ago, except that this one has all new cards,  and the Nine Keys Game only has, well, 9 key signatures, rather than 15! Nine Keys

There are 7 pages in this PDF. The last page is an optional back to the cards. You will need to print the cards separately because I formatted the cards  for a business card template, such as this one on Amazon. First, I printed just the game board on card stock. Then I inserted the business card stock and printed the cards. Finally, I reinserted the cards and printed the backs. If you don’t have business card stock, connect the short lines and cut them out. But I am so happy to use the business cards! [I also found the business card stock at Sam's for less.]

I’ve played this two ways. The longer version has the tokens moving all over the game board, backwards and forwards, which makes it fun, but takes a little longer to finish.

Ages

  • This game is for middle school students, but I’ve successfully played it with younger students.
  •  Remove the minor key cards from the deck to play with students who are learning only major keys.
  • The game is also good for group lessons or music camps.
  • It helps if students have a basic understanding of key signatures, but it is not a requirement if they use the chart.

Material

  • Fifteen Keys, the free printable game board from my website.
  • Key signature chart, or Circle of Fifths chart
  • The cards, cut or separated.
  • A small game token for each player.
  • If you don’t know how to print individual pages of a PDF, go here and scroll down.

Directions

Fast version

  • Place the key signature chart in full view.
  • Players take turns drawing a game card. Depending on the card, they either move forward to the key on the card, or answer the question and follow the directions. Students can look at the chart to find the names of the key signatures.
  • If they draw a key signature that is not located past their token, they do not move to a key they have already passed, but draw again.
  • The game is over when a player lands on or moves past “win.”

Slower version

  • Place the key signature chart in full view.
  • Players take turns drawing a game card. Depending on the card, they either move forward to the key on the card, or answer the question and follow the directions. Students can look at the chart to find the names of the key signatures.
  • If it is a key signature card, the player moves to the closest key signature specified on the card, even it they have to move backwards to a key they have already passed by.
  • The game is over when a player draws the exact number to land on “win” or when a player moves past “win.”

Objectives

  • To learn to quickly identify all the major and/or minor key signatures.
  • To learn how to draw and use a key signature chart.

This game works on identifying key signatures. However, I have also made some worksheets for writing key signatures. If your students have trouble learning how to draw key signatures on a staff for written tests or composing, these are a lot of help!

Simple Sharps

Fearless Flats

Down a 5th, Up a Fourth

Up a 4th, Down a Fifth

The Noteboys Circle of Fifths Poster

*Riddles:

  • 3 things that need a key: House, car, scale, door, music, etc. 
  • What barnyard bird can open doors: Tur”key”.  (or Turn”key”)
  • Key signature’s favorite dance: Ho”key” Po”key”
  • What jungle animal loves key signatures? Mon”key”
  • What barnyard animal sings off key? Don”key”
  • When you are slow you may be called: Pokey
  • What kind of key can you type on: Keyboard
  • Another name for the tonic is: the Keynote

 

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Winner of Just Because It’s Halloween!

 

Just Because It's Halloween published by Alfred Music

Just Because It’s Halloween published by Alfred Music

We have a winner of  my newly released piano music, Just Because It’s Halloween!

It’s Patricia, of Tucson. She buys her music at Instrumental Music in Tucson. Patricia, please email me your mailing address as soon as possible so I can mail your music to you.

For those of you who do not have a local music store, this sheet music is now available from Amazon and it is on sale. Just click  here or the link above. [Ed. The sale is over, but there is free shipping on Amazon Prime.]

Both hands in this piece sit in the D minor 5-finger position. If you have a student who is “stuck in middle C,” I have found that one way to help them branch out is to work for a long time in a different position, memorizing the piece. Learning to play in several positions the first year of piano will help students be more successful when they transition to more difficult music the second year.

One of the reasons so many students who start in a C position method drop out the second year is because they are introduced to so many new things. They play more hands together, they have more accidentals, the rhythm is more challenging, and on top of that they have never played with their hands out of C position and they get very frustrated. It’s just too much! I think it is better to introduce different positions when the music is really easy. That is why I mix up the hand positions in the easy original music I write, like Sunny Solos.

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest. I enjoyed reading about all the fantastic music stores around the country. It has been lots of fun for me, and I plan to do it again!

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