Games, Group Classes

Piano Party Success!

On Saturday, I held a Piano Party for my students.  It was basically a group lesson and rehearsal for our Spring Recital which is coming up in a few weeks.  Most of my students have never met each other, so this was a good opportunity for them to learn a little about each other and to share their pieces.  I’d like to hold group lessons more regularly now that I have enough students to do so…..so this was a good start!

Here’s what we did:

  • We started by introducing ourselves to each other.  Then I expressed how excited I was for them all to be here.  (My philosophy is that if you want your students to be excited about being there, than you’d better show some enthusiasm yourself too!)  :)
  • Together, we completed the Performing at the Piano worksheet which discusses performance etiquette and more.  Continue reading “Piano Party Success!”
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, 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!

Continue reading “Musical Instruments Quizzing/Sorting game”

Games, Group Classes, Music Camps, Music Theory, Printables

Just Added: Musical Flashcard Sorting game

This is a simple game to play with groups of students that makes note-naming flashcards a bit more interesting.   It involves sorting the flashcards onto alphabet letter signs on the floor, as pictured on the right (the “A” flashcards would go in the blank space on the right side of the page).

The game is pretty flexible, because beforehand you can sort out exactly which flashcards you want to focus on with your students.  This also allows you to control how long you wish the game to continue.

You can also use different flashcards.  With my Homeschool Music Class this week, we used my Piano Key naming flashcards (they came with the MiniMusic set I purchased earlier this year).  With my Piano Readiness Class, we’ve been doing on-staff work so we used regular staff-note-naming flashcards (I use this set from Faber & Faber, but any flashcards will do).

Another tip with this game: if you are using the note-naming flashcards, arrange the musical alphabet signs on the floor in a column, so that A is at the bottom and G is at the top.  I recommend this because this arrangement resembles the staff, where the musical alphabet progresses vertically.  If you are using piano-key-naming flashcards, I would arrange the signs on the floor horizontally, just like the keyboard.

Download the pdf of the alphabet signs and detailed gameplay instructions by visiting the Printables > Games page.  Scroll down to the M’s for “Musical Flashcard Sorting game.”

Group Classes, Music Camps, Printables, Worksheets

Just Added: Musical Instruments Workbook

With my Piano Readiness Class, we’ve been learning about the instruments and the instrument families.  To do this, I decided to create a workbook for my students to be able to take notes about the instruments and color a picture of each one.

Description: This 29-page workbook contains coloring pages and blank lines for taking notes when learning about the musical instruments and the instrument families. It is ideal for a regularly-meeting group setting, where the teacher can introduce an instrument or two each week.  Continue reading “Just Added: Musical Instruments Workbook”

Conferences, Group Classes, improving as a teacher

2011 OhioMTA Conference (4): Piano Pedagogy 101, by Marvin Blickenstaff

Here’s another session given by the well-loved pedagogue Marvin Blickenstaff from the 2011 OhioMTA Conference:

Piano Pedagogy 101: Reviewing the Basics

Mr. Blickenstaff introduced this session by commenting that at conferences and workshops, we often hear ideas for teaching intermediate and advanced students, but we don’t very often hear ideas for teaching beginners during that first year of piano lessons.  The purpose of this session to give a refresher of sorts and to provide new ideas for teaching beginners, particularly in groups.

Mr. Blickenstaff basically led us through a series of short activities that he uses during group classes with beginners.  He begins the first few classes with some icebreaker activities that all students can succeed doing.  These initial successes set the tone for the entire year!

Here are a few examples of some of the beginner-level icebreaker activities Mr. Blickenstaff likes to use with his students:

Continue reading “2011 OhioMTA Conference (4): Piano Pedagogy 101, by Marvin Blickenstaff”

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”

Games, Group Classes, Music Camps

Carpet Squares for Working With Groups

Many months ago, I bought a bunch of carpet square samples from a flooring store.  Even though I was still in grad school at the time and didn’t have any real use for them (yet), I had a plan for them.  And they were incredibly cheap.  :)

During last week’s Piano Readiness Class, I got to try them out for the first time!  I put out three squares for my students and myself to sit on while doing activities on the floor.

Here’s what I liked about them:  Continue reading “Carpet Squares for Working With Groups”

Early Childhood Music, Games, Group Classes, Printables

Beginner Piano Game: Piano Hands Hunt

I have two 5-year-old students signed up for a Piano Readiness Class, and our first class was yesterday!  We had such a fun time.  We sang songs, listened to music to find/walk to the beat, traced our hands to learn about RH/LH/finger numbers, and more.  Best of all, we played the Piano Hands Hunt game — a simple game I invented on a whim yesterday as I was lesson planning.  It was quite a hit!  The girls asked to play it again next week — a request I’m happy to oblige!

Just added to the Printables > Games page:

Piano Hands Hunt — a music game for 2-6 players.  This simple game is intended for use with young beginners/elementary level students to help them learn RH versus LH, and the finger numbers for piano.  Continue reading “Beginner Piano Game: Piano Hands Hunt”

Conferences, Early Childhood Music, Group Classes, Music Camps, Resources

MiniMusic Kit for Early Childhood Music Classes

In my last post, I mentioned the MiniMusic kit by Paula Manwaring (Kjos Publishing) that I purchased while I was at the NCKP conference.  The photos and description of this curriculum on the Kjos Publishing website do not do it justice!  So I decided to show you some photos I took myself.  I think many of the materials included in the kit are great resources for group lessons and games with students of ANY age.

Here’s a list of what is included:  Continue reading “MiniMusic Kit for Early Childhood Music Classes”