Early Childhood Music

Finger Number Beanbag Game

Pinterest is wonderful, isn’t it?  :)

While browsing Pinterest, I was inspired by this picture by the blogger Becki Lewis.  Becki’s Finger Number Beanbag Game is a simple but very effective game for young beginner piano students.

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Students stand in front of the mat and drop the beanbag.  Then, they name the finger the beanbag landed closest to, and correctly identify RH or LH.  I tried this game out with my Piano Readiness Class, and they enjoyed it!  It is a quick, easy activity that effectively reviews the hands/fingers.

Becki used a marker and a piece of cardboard to draw the outline of two hands.  I designed a printable on the computer to use with my students, and Becki gave me permission to share the printable with you here: visit the Printables > Games page, and scroll down to the F’s for “Finger Number Beanbag Game.”  I laminated the two pages and taped them together, so that they fold for easy storage.  Enjoy!

Early Childhood Music, Games, Group Classes, Music Camps

Floor Staff Activity: Introduction to the Grand Staff

Remember last February when I created this DIY floor staff?  I thought I’d share a little activity that shows how I used it recently with my Piano Readiness Class.

(Don’t mind my cat, Coda, who totally photo-bombed this photo.  :)

The two students I was working with have already learned to identify high and low sounds when we sing or listen to music, and can recognize the treble and bass clef symbols.  I showed them the floor staff (which they were totally excited about), and asked them to count the number lines and spaces with me.  I demonstrated that notes can either be line notes or space notes.  Then, I put the treble clef and bass clef on the floor staff, for high and low sounds.

After that introduction, I handed each student a foam disc (you can find these in the craft section at many stores) and gave them two directions: (1) line or space note, and (2) high or low note.  After placing notes on the staff in this way for a while, they realized there were also “middle” notes, so we started doing that too.  Then we started doing it backwards: I asked them to put a note anywhere they wanted, and to tell me whether it was a line/space note and whether it was high/middle/low.

This turned out to be a fun little activity for introducing the staff to a couple of four-year-olds!  The next step will be to associate the alphabet names to the lines and spaces.  :)

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”