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.

“Peek A Boo” Game

As piano teachers, we are always looking for ways to get students to “Play It Again” or “Play It Till You Get It”. Unfortunately, this usually equates to being locked up in a prison in a child’s mind. So, like me you are probably always on the lookout for a practice game. Here is a video of the latest practice game from my studio presented by one of my students. Enjoy!

A Christmas Gift For Music Teachers

Ahh the Christmas rush has begun! With so much planning and practicing and blah blah blah I haven’t had any time to blog since before Thanksgiving. So, while I am briefly coming up for air I thought I’d make amends by giving you a special gift.

Now,  I can’t take credit for this gift (I came across it online) but believe me it is a good one and it is for YOU if you teach music to anybody of any age! I was browsing through my bookmarks and came across a site that I had bookmarked for future reference and forgotten about. It is a Music Educators Resource list that has EVERYTHING you could possibly want for teaching ideas. From classroom discipline ideas, theme ideas, and games to specifics on working with Middle School boys and private lessons you are sure to find lots of info you can use.

To open your gift, just click the link below. Once on the site you can select the entire page and paste into a word processing document on your computer so you will always have it handy!