Studio Project: Musical Christmas Paper Chain

I love Christmastime for many reasons.

As a piano teacher, I love that it gives students the opportunity to play a variety of familiar tunes.  Playing tunes that are already in their ears really helps build their music reading skills.

I keep a lending library of Christmas books and loan them out to students each year.  I give students a book that is at or slightly below their current playing level so that they can quickly and easily learn a few selections from their book.

This year, I added a new tradition: When students complete a piece, they get to sign their autograph and write “2014” in the Christmas book.  It will be fun for students to see the names of students who learned the pieces in previous years.

Last year, we started a different tradition: a studio-wide project to build a paper chain to decorate the studio.  The idea is that when a student learns a Christmas piece, they get to add a paper strip to the chain.  It is a fun collaborative, inclusive project that allows the entire studio to participate.

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[Credit: I gained both of these ideas from a Facebook forum for piano teachers.]

This year, I created this simple PDF sign to explain the project.

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Feel free to download this PDF on the Printables > Other Resources page (near the M’s as “Musical Christmas Chain project.”), or here:

  Musical Christmas Chain Project (155.5 KiB, 2,124 hits)

Learning all those Christmas pieces during December will be useful for the January Piano Party, when students will each perform a holiday piece.  As students perform for each other, we will play “Name That Tune.”  Students keep track of their guesses on this worksheet and mark the stars for each correct answer at the end.

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Click here to read more about the January Piano Party from 2013.

You can download the Name-That-Tune worksheet by visiting the Printables > Games page and scrolling down to “Name-That-Tune – Christmas Edition”, or here:

  Name-That-Tune - Christmas Edition (45.6 KiB, 3,142 hits)

I hope you and your students are enjoying the holiday season!

PG
Joy Morin is a piano teacher in Perrysburg, Ohio (United States) who enjoys keeping her teaching fresh with new ideas and resources. ColorInMyPiano.com serves as a journal of her adventures in piano teaching as well as a place to exchange ideas and resources.

Joy has blogged 1106 posts here.

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5 Comments

  1. Jane
    Posted 5 December 2014 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Hi, Joy! I used your chain idea last year, and hung it as part of our Christmas party decorations. The kids enjoyed having their songs and names displayed and I plan to use the strips in a new journal that I want to start. I have so many wonderful cards, notes and pictures from students over the years. I’m so grateful for those who have come through my door, and my students have taught me so much! Thank you for all you do in encouraging us along the journey!

  2. Posted 6 December 2014 at 1:55 am | Permalink

    I love this chain idea! I’ve been using it in my own studio as well this year. Students really enjoy seeing how long we make the chain.

  3. Amy
    Posted 21 November 2016 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    I used your idea for the first time last year and was amazed that my small studio of 11 students learned 96 Christmas pieces in all!

    My students also came up with adding in a gold (yellow) link option for pieces that are memorized and this is a great incentive for them because they want that “golden ring” that stands out among the rest!

    • Amy
      Posted 21 November 2016 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

      This year I’ll encourage each of them to earn “5 golden rings” as the song goes.

      • Posted 22 November 2016 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

        Wow, Amy, that is SUCH a good idea about the gold chain rings! I love that will have to add that feature to for my own students this year. :)

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