Early Childhood Music, Games, Group Classes, Printables, Teaching Piano

The Amazing Keyboard Race

I had a wonderful extended weekend in Michigan, giving my presentations and spending time with my family!  Now I’m busy back at work, playing catch-up.  :)  However, I do have a little game I’d like to share with you today.

I am not the original inventor of this game, I’m sure — but in case you haven’t seen it before, here’s how to play this keyboard game with your beginner students!

Continue reading “The Amazing Keyboard Race”

Early Childhood Music, Group Classes, Music Camps

A Hello Song & Goodbye Song for Group Classes

When I shared about my method of lesson planning for groups classes a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned a Hello Song and Goodbye Song that I use with my young students.  Someone asked which ones I use, so I thought I would let you hear them in this quick video:

httpvh://youtu.be/s3M0_kThFIQ

HELLO SONG
Hello, it’s time,
For music class today.
Let’s have, some fun,
With ____, _____, and ______.  (Fill in blanks with students’ names.)

GOODBYE SONG
Goodbye everybody, yes indeed,
Yes indeed, yes indeed.
Let’s make music again next week,
Yes indeed my friends.
Goodbye ____.  (Fill in with student’s name. Repeat this line as needed, then sing the first 4 lines again.)

There are lots of different Hello and Goodbye Songs out there to choose from – just google it and you’ll see!  These were just two that I liked that I found somewhere online.

Early Childhood Music, Games, Group Classes, Music Camps

Musical Instruments Quizzing/Sorting game

My Homeschool Class and my Piano Readiness Class both recently finished their Musical Instruments Workbooks.  We usually complete just two pages each class, so it took us awhile to get through it!

Now that we’ve finished it, we’ve been playing a fun little sorting/quizzing game using the deck of instrument cards that came with my MiniMusic kit.  This competitive game has been quite a hit!

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Early Childhood Music, Group Classes, Music Camps

How I Lesson Plan for Group Classes

I’ve had a few requests lately from readers regarding more info about what kind of activities I do with my Homeschool Music Classes and Piano Readiness classes, so I thought it might first be a good idea to first give you a peek into how I lesson plan for group classes.  Although I don’t lesson plan for teaching private lessons, I do always make a plan for group classes.

At each class, we begin and end with a “Hello Song” and “Goodbye Song.”  Students like having this routine, and they are very good at reminding me about the songs if I forget about them!  I have the students tap the beat on their knees (as we sit cross-legged on our carpet squares) while we sing.  That way, I can tell if they are engaged even if they aren’t singing all the lyrics for one reason or another.

When I lesson plan the evening before the next day’s class, I try to include the following things:  Continue reading “How I Lesson Plan for Group Classes”

Early Childhood Music, Reviews

Wee Sing “Games, Games, Games”

For Christmas, my friend and colleague Loretta gave me the Wee Sing “Games, Games, Games” book with music.  I’ve been using it with my Homeschool Music Class with great success!  We typically do a lot of sitting as we learn about composers, listen to music, and learn about the musical instruments.  So I always find it’s important to come up with a few games that allow them to stand up and move around the room too.  This Wee Sing book makes it much easier to plan movement activities!  So far we’ve tried the “Looby Loo” song and the “Pass the Ball” song.

For “Pass the Ball,” students stand in a circle and pass the ball with the beat.  The sound of the tambourine is the signal to pass the ball the other direction.  The music goes faster and slower at certain points, which makes the kids get very excited!  I got out a bunch of different little balls to pass, just to keep things interesting: a plush basketball, a Nerf ball, a fuzzy craft ball, and a juggling bean bag.

You can find the Wee Sing “Games, Games, Games” book with CD on Amazon.

Early Childhood Music, repertoire / methods, Reviews

First Thoughts Regarding Faber’s “My First Piano Adventure”

As big of a fan as I am of Nancy & Randall Faber’s materials for piano students, somehow I’ve never had a chance to try out their “My First Piano Adventure” books — until now.  After trying out this book with a new 5-year-old student last week, I am wondering why in the world didn’t I check this out sooner?!

My First Piano Adventure is designed for young beginners, ages 5 and 6.  I suspect that 4-year-olds would also thrive using this book, and maybe even precocious 3-year-olds — but don’t quote me on that until I’ve had more time to test it out.

The Lesson Book comes with a CD full of fun songs and activities that teach the student about basic technique, how to make different sounds on the piano, and much more.  The CD alone is worth the price of the Lesson Book!!   Parents can play the CD at home or in the car so the student is hearing them all week long.  I bought my own copy to play during lessons — but I also plan to use some of the songs on the CD with my Piano Readiness Classes and Homeschool Music class because they are that good.  :)  Many of the songs involve some pretty creative activities for learning basic piano technique — which is great, because I am always on the lookout for finding effective ways to teach young beginners proper technique. Continue reading “First Thoughts Regarding Faber’s “My First Piano Adventure””

Early Childhood Music, Games, Group Classes, Music Camps, Rhythm

“Musical Hopscotch” game

About year ago, Sheryl Welles posted on her blog about a “Twister Hopscotch” game that she modified into a wonderful music game.  Basically, all you have to do is use Avery circle stickers of some kind to make the spinner into a music spinner with rhythmic note values.

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Early Childhood Music, Games, Group Classes, Music Camps, Printables, seasonal / holiday, Teaching Piano

Just Added: Musical Leaves Matchup game

This is a short music game I created as a way to reinforce the names of the piano keys with young beginners.  It only takes a few minutes to play, but my students seemed to enjoy it.  It gives them a break from the usual drill I do, where I have them find 3 different C’s on the piano, etc.  :)

Here’s how it works:

You’ll need to buy fabric or foam leaves and mark each with a letter from the musical alphabet using a marker or felt tip pen.  The student is instructed to match each leaf to it’s spot on the tree, until the whole tree is filled.  The game only takes a few minutes, so it’s a great game to do on the piano bench at the beginning or end of a piano lesson.

Any leftover fabric leaves can be used to decorate your Thanksgiving day table in a few weeks.  :)

To Download: go to the Printables > Games page and scroll down to “Musical Leaves Matchup game.”

Early Childhood Music, improving as a teacher, Professional Development, Teaching Piano

9 Tips for Teaching Piano To Young Ages

As piano teachers, we wear many hats.  School teachers often teach only one age group, or a few age groups.  Piano teachers are usually expected to be able to teach from age 5 to 95!  But as we all know, teaching a 5-year-old is much different from teaching a 15-year-old, or a 55-year-old.  :)

In recently thinking about this challenge of being able to effectively teach various age levels and maturities, I decided to make a list of some of the things I’ve learned over the past few years about teaching young ages — I’m thinking, ages 6 and under.  I learned some of these things from an Early Childhood Music course I took during grad school and various piano pedagogy courses — but I learned many of these things purely from experience.  Here goes:

  1. Don’t ask questions that you don’t really want answers to.  Examples: “Did you like that?” or “Do you want to try it on your own now?”  Sometimes if given the option to opt out of something, children will say “no” simply because you’ve given them a choice.  :)  It’s better to make statements.
  2. Give them time to think.  When you ask a question, wait for them to process and compose a response.  Sometimes we ask questions and then blow right on without getting an answer.  Young children need this think time.  If you don’t really want to wait for an answer, then don’t ask the question in the first place.  Continue reading “9 Tips for Teaching Piano To Young Ages”
Early Childhood Music, Games, Group Classes, Music Camps, Music Theory, Printables, Teaching Piano

Just Added: Musical Alphabet Cards

There are others who have shared alphabet card printables similar to what I’m posting today, but I’m adding mine to the mix anyway.  :)  I wanted some that would work well to print onto colored cardstock paper.  Since I don’t have a color printer, this is an easy way I can still get colorful things to use with my students!

I used these cards with my new weekly Homeschool Music Class (just started last week, thanks to Sheryl’s recent post at her Notable Music Studio blog) and with my Piano Readiness Class.  My students LOVED making “musical alphabet snakes” in order to learn how the musical alphabet is different from the regular alphabet.  Included in the pdf is a card which outlines some other possible activities to do using the cards.  These activities work great in both group settings and private lessons.

Do you have some other activities to share that involve alphabet cards?  Share them in the comments!

To Download: visit the Printables > Other Resources page and scroll down to the M’s for Musical Alphabet Cards.

  Musical Alphabet Cards (275.9 KiB, 11,707 hits)

Early Childhood Music, Games, Group Classes, Music Camps, Printables, Rhythm, Teaching Piano

Just Added: Rainy Rhythm Game

I’ve mentioned before that during grad school, I took an Early Childhood Music course.  One of the things we discussed was using the “sound before sight” philosophy – where the student is exposed to and experiences the concepts before being taught the name or the written notation.  I’ve been doing my best to use this philosophy of teaching music with my Piano Readiness students.

I was reminded of a raindrops & rainbows rhythm game one of my classmates created for an assignment during that course when I saw Anne Crosby’s recent post, which mentioned an activity involving finger-painting raindrops/rainbows.  It immediately occurred to me that the girls in my Piano Readiness Class would LOVE a game involving rainbows, so I put together this printable.  It’s nothing groundbreaking; I’m sure teachers before me have done similar things.  But hopefully this printable might be as useful and convenient for some of you as it was for me!

Continue reading “Just Added: Rainy Rhythm Game”