Musical Mother’s Day Gifts

Here are some of the gifts my students gave their moms for Mother’s Day:

 Using a composing activity by Susan Paradis, Caroline wrote a song for her mom. I took a picture of her while she was composing. Then I laminated her song and mailed the song and the picture to her mom.

   Jordan made a video of herself playing her mom’s favorite songs. In the video she also tells her mom just how long it took her to get the song right! I’m guessing she wanted to make sure her mom knew just how much of herself she put into this gift!

4 year old Mia wrote a song for her mom using the notes in the 2 black key group. Mia sang and played the song for her mom. I wrote down the notes she played, then printed them along with the words she made up on pretty stationery. We laminated it and gave it to her mom at the end of her piano lesson.  She also recorded the song as part of her CD recording project. 

 Madison wrote a song for her mom using my songwriting game and  composing tools from KinderBach. Again, we laminated it and Madison kept it as a surprise to present to her mom on Mother’s Day.

What’s the best musical Mother’s Day gift you ever received from your kid? Share it in a comment below!

Kids Composing Contest!

 We’ve been doing a lot of songwriting in the piano studio lately and this  FREE songwriting contest sponsored by KinderBach.com sounds like a nice add-on to make it even more fun for the kids! Entries must be received by June 19, 2012 and winners will be announced June 21, 2012. When you visit their website there is also a link for Contest Aid Pages. These include colorful cutouts and a staff to help kids put the composition on paper! For another idea on how to compose with kids, check out the post I did on my Songwriting Game. I’m going to encourage my students to submit some of their creations, how about you?

Songwriting Game

Yesterday I came across a set of balls in my studio like the ones you see at places like Chuck E Cheese where the kids can get in a pit and just have a good time. I had purchased them a while ago knowing that eventually I’d get an idea about how to use them to teach music. Well yesterday was the day the idea finally arrived! SONGWRITING BALLS!

This is an activity that can be done with any instrument, not just piano!

The balls conveniently come in 5 colors. I purchased mine at Wal Mart. Of course in my mind the number 5 screams PENTATONIC SCALE. So, I chose one note of the pentatonic scale for each color. C – red, D – orange, E- blue, G- green, and A-yellow and wrote these one the balls. I made 5 sets of each color.

To play the game (which is really writing a song), place all the balls in a large hat or bag.

Then, using a composing worksheet such as the ones you can find on Susan Paradis’ site, determine how many balls to draw from the bag. You will need one for each note of the song.

Each time a ball is drawn from the bag, write the note name in the appropriate space on the composing worksheet.

Since we are only using the pentatonic scale for this song, any combination should sound nice. You could also specify that the first ball drawn will be the first and last not of the song.

Once you’ve got all the notes written on the worksheet, it’s time to play your new masterpiece!

Extensions – Add lyrics!

Use the G and C balls to demonstrate V-I progression. Add this to the end of your song to show how lots of songs end this way. Have your student play G-C up and               down the chosen instrument.