Another Valentine’s Day Themed Music Activity!

Conductor's BouquetThis Valentine’s Day Themed Conductors Bouquet is going to be used in 3 ways in my studio next week:

– To teach kids which hand plays treble clef notes and which plays bass clef notes

– To teach kids how to feel different time signatures by conducting with the wands

– As a decoration to brighten up the studio so I can see kids’ faces light up as they enter for their lessons

When students arrive for lessons, I will be playing Bob Marley’s “One Love” and Annie Lennox and Al Green’s “Put A Little Love In Your Heart”. The Student will take a wand from the bouquet and using the correct hand for the symbol on the heart join me in conducting the song. We will extend the activity by conducting some of the pieces that they are working on as well. At the end of their lesson they will get to take the wand home to keep!

Here’s what you need in order to do this activity:

1. Valentine’s Wands from Dollar Tree (They come in packs of 3)

2. A sharpie marker to draw bass clef and treble clef symbols on the hearts

3. A nice vase to keep them in

4. Songs of different time signatures

That’s it!

Before we go I have a question: What other Valentine Themed songs can you suggest with different time signatures that can be used in this lesson? Please let me know in a comment below!

Same Note, Different Value: A Valentine’s Day Matching Game

Valentine Match UpToday’s post is inspired by Meryl Brown’s One Heart Activity found on her Music Therapy Blog, Developing Melodies. 

Meryl pairs Bob Marley’s song, One Love with a matching heart game to teach preschoolers to match patterns. What I think is so cute about the idea is that it plays off the Valentine’s Day theme which is all about match ups!

Her idea inspired me to create a new game that helps piano students make the connection between notes on the staff that have different values but are the same note. I find that some kids have may correctly identify a quarter note middle C in one measure but do not realize when they see a half note C in a different measure that the two notes are the same note. This quick game is a fun way to help them make that connection.

All you need is some foam heart shapes or paper hearts and a sharpie to draw the notes. Cut the hearts in half in puzzle like designs and your game is ready!

In case you missed yesterday’s post and are looking for more valentine theme piano fun click here!

A Fun Back To School Piano Lesson

Piano Key Lights

As the awesome piano teacher you no doubt are, you want your first piano lessons of the new school year to be spectacular! So, allow me to suggest an idea from www.teachpianotoday.com. I call it “Light Up The Keys”.  All you need is some glow sticks (purchase at the dollar store) and a concept or song to review. To review 5 finger patterns, I had my student turn off the studio lights and place glow sticks on the notes for the patterned I called out. I called out 5 different patterns, and she was able to win a glow stick for each pattern that she correctly placed.

We had so much fun that we decided to use the idea with a song. We decided to have Christmas in August and play the beginning of  Jingle Bells.  See how it went below for this 4-year-old.

Quick Way To Learn A New Song

Quick Way To Learn A Song

What You Will Need:

2 or more piano students (upper elementary and older)

A song that these students like to listen to a lot

1 Die (small is fine, but GIANT is more exciting)

2 Pianos

What You Do:

Teach each student individually how to play the song by rote. (Most likely you will just teach the chorus or a popular riff in the song). You can even have the 1st student help you show the 2nd student how the song goes

Have each student go to a piano

Have each student pick a number from 1-6 and whisper it in your ear

Roll the die until one of the numbers comes up. That is the student who will play first.

The first student plays. As soon as he makes a mistake he must immediately stop playing. Now it is the other student’s turn.

They continue to take turns until someone plays it through with no mistakes. That person receives a point. If they both play it correctly, they both get a point.

 The first person to get 3 points is the winner

Why This Works for the Students:

This formula works because of 2 key ingredients: A song the students like and the friendly competition. Being the first to correctly play a song that you and your friends love significantly raises a  student’s level of cool!

Why This Works for the Teacher:

Students will be practicing without even realizing it!

Balloons In The Piano Room

Music Balloons

Quick and fun theory review!

At our practice achievement celebrations this week, I drew music theory concepts on balloons and had students randomly pick 2-3 balloons. I told them that if they could correctly identify what was on the balloon, they could pop the balloon. If they correctly identified all 3 of them then they also got the joy of taking a purple balloon home with them.

I got the idea for this activity while reading Ron Clark’s book, The End of Molasses Classes. It is an AWESOME read!

I used different variations of the activity also.

Sight Reading Balloon

Sight Reading

Note Identification

Note Identification

Finally, my favorite variation – In Family Feud Style I gave 2 students each a blank balloon. I sat them in chairs back to back and told them they had 20 seconds to draw as many music symbols as they could think of on the balloon. Whoever had the most would get to pop the balloons.

They had a blast with it!

symbols

Pinterest Inspired – Music Heals Broken Hearts!

Broken Hearts

Pinterest has got to be one of the greatest resources for inspiration that I’ve ever come across! While browsing the site recently I came across an activity from a school party that used broken hearts to review numbers that was pinned by Ann Berman. Someone suggested making a music matching game with this idea, so I did! I used it as a review for note and rest values. My 3 year old student LOVED it. The game was very easy to make. I used foam hearts and a sharpie to draw a quarter note, half note, whole note, and their corresponding rests on one half of each heart. On the other I wrote the number value. Then I cut the hearts down the middle in different shapes to make unique puzzles in order to make the activity self-correcting.

Do you use Pinterest? If so, leave your link in a comment below. Then hop on over to my Pinterest page and check out some of my boards.

 

A Child’s Ideas On How To Prepare For A Piano Performance

A Child's IdeasThis is a guest post from a 4th grader  who wishes to remain anonymous. Parents, students, and teachers will enjoy getting involved with performance prep using this piano student’s ideas! Some of my most successful teaching strategies have come from the students themselves. I love their creativity!

Play American Idol:

Have the people in the room give critiques to help the student play better.

Play Elmo Says:

Tickle Me Elmo loves to say, “Again, Again!” You should too!

Have the student play again and again and when you think they have it ask for them to play the song with their eyes closed. Any other songs the person will play that special night go through the same process. Tell them how much time is left until the night of the concert. Motivate them to try harder if they say they can’t do it. It is all in the purpose of learning that they  can do this. Play games with them to remember the song. Show the kid how they can make their playing more interesting.

 

Play Open & Close ‘Em:

Try to go through the whole song with your eyes closed and if you hear the wrong note open your eyes.Then put your hand in the right place to continue the song and try not to mess up on the same part.

Play Tic Tac Toe:

Instructions for tic-tac-toe – You try to play the song one time and if everything is right you make an X or O. Keep playing the song until the student wins.