Games, Group Classes

February 2013 Piano Party

Last Saturday, I held another Piano Party for my students!  These group classes are so much fun.  My students really look forward to them!

We started out with what I call the Rhythm Name game — it’s one of my favorites.  Students should be seated in a circle.  Each student must create a short rhythm that will be their rhythm name.  Before beginning, each student should take turns clap their own rhythm name, so that the rest of the group can learn and memorize them.  The teacher can begin by clapping his/her own name, saying “calls,” and then clapping the rhythm name of another student.  Gameplay is then passed to that student, who must recognize their name and call another student.  Gameplay continues until an allotted amount of time.  This game is a great test of the student’s aural skills, rhythm skills, and their musical memory!

Next, I allowed a few students to play pieces that they are currently working on.  We gave them verbal feedback on things like dynamics, but mostly we just enjoyed the music.

Then we learned about Scott Joplin!  I already used this composer study a couple of weeks ago with my homeschool class, and now I wanted to share it with my private students.  Ragtime is an important part of American music history!

Joplin lapbook inside

As students finished their lapbooks, I started two games (spitting the students into two groups).  The first one was the Alphabet Trail game from pianimation.com

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This game helps students get familiar with the musical alphabet, thinking through it forwards and backwards.  I have a few beginners who need more practice with this, so I thought it was the perfect game for them!

The other game was Over The Edge, also from pianimation.com:

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This is a simple game that reviews the number of beats that basic rhythm values receive.  The goal is to fill up the game card with as close to 21 beats as possible without going “over the edge.”

My students are already looking forward to next month’s Piano Party!

14 thoughts on “February 2013 Piano Party”

  1. Can you describe the details of your party classes. Who comes, how often, in place of lessons or in addition to, etc. I do theory classes quarterly with my students and we do a variety of things. Some by levels, some together if we are studying composers or time periods etc. It’s always great to hear how other teachers arrange these times as well. Thanks for your insight. I always learn something new to add.

    1. Hi Leticia!

      I hold a Piano Party once a month on a Saturday morning (in addition to their lessons that week). All students under age 15 are invited, and the class lasts for an hour-and-a-half. Most of my students are beginners or elementary-level, so it has worked well so far to have everyone coming to the same class. Eventually, I will probably have to split it into two classes, especially if I want to start covering theory concepts more often in a group setting. Right now, we focus mostly on rhythm, note reading, terms, and composers.

  2. I love the rhythm name game idea! Thanks for sharing. Coincidentally, Classics for Kids this month highlights Scott Joplin. One of my students thought it was very interesting that he didn’t even know his own birthday :)

      1. Can you explain how the Rhythm Name Game works exactly? Do the students have to keep the steady beat the entire time?

  3. Hi Joy,
    I have been considering doing group lessons for a while now. I really appreciate all the great ideas you share!

    I am wondering what your thoughts are about the minimum number of students you would recommend before trying it out.

    1. My minimum would be 3 or 4 students, and my perfect number would be 6. I wouldn’t recommend trying more than 6 unless or until you have lots of experience working with groups of children, or unless you have a helper! :)

  4. Joy, I got a tickle about the above of what you said about “spitting” the students into two groups! Sometimes we might feel like spitting them!
    I have group lesson this week…love the Valentines…the kids loved the grand piano last year and I am sure they will love these too. I bought music symbols molds and plan to melt chocolate for the party! I can’t wait to try the new molds out!

  5. Thank you so much for your website! I am a violin teacher branching into teaching piano and the resources from your site and others like it have been invaluable. I am also doing a group lesson once a month and get a lot of ideas from your own groups. Thanks again!

  6. Thank you very much! I will start with group lessons next month and all your ideas are great! We will sing a few songs, I think is important to sing for every musician :)

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