Giveaways, Reviews, Rhythm, Technology

Review & Giveaway: Rhythm Cat app

Rhythm Cat — Cost: Free version (15 levels) is FREE;  Rhythm Cat Pro is $2.99.  The pro version is available currently for iPhone/iPod Touch — and the pro version for iPad is coming out soon!

This app is a fun and effective way to improve rhythm skills.  Let me tell you why!

On each level, the player is presented with a rhythm example.

After hitting the Play button, a soundtrack begins. After 1-2-3-4 is shown, the player must tap the rhythm of the example shown using the large green button.  Here is what the very first rhythm example looks like:   Continue reading “Review & Giveaway: Rhythm Cat app”

Giveaways, Reviews, Rhythm, Technology

Review & Giveaway: SpeakBeat app

SpeakBeat – Cost: $1.99.  View it in the iTunes store here.

SpeakBeat is a metronome app, but with a twist: it “speaks” the beats!  Just choose the time signature and choose whether you’d like sub beats counted (the “and’s,” “one-and-a’s,” and the “one-e-and-a’s”) or not.   The tempo can be adjusted from 20-240 bpm.  There are also 8 different voices to choose from in the settings: a variety of male and female voices, as well as a few fun ones like Darth Vader and Kermit the Frog!  The app’s interface is easy to navigate and quite nice-looking.

We all know the value of having students count aloud as they play, right?  Counting aloud does more than self-correct the student’s rhythm — it also teaches students to be play in awareness of the meter.  (See more about my thoughts regarding teaching rhythm here.)   Continue reading “Review & Giveaway: SpeakBeat app”

Group Classes, Rhythm, Teaching Piano

Introducing…The Color In My Piano Shop!

Greetings!

I have a big announcement today: I have just added a “Shop” page to ColorInMyPiano.com, where I have listed a few items for sale!  Don’t worry…I’ll always share lots of freebies too, but I have some bigger projects that I’d like to make available in the shop.  :)  Right now, I’ve got two items listed:

Rhythm Cards – Level 1.  These cards have simple two- or three- measure rhythm examples on them, perfect for using with beginner students.

Continue reading “Introducing…The Color In My Piano Shop!”

Games, Printables, Rhythm

Music Motor Match – A Rhythm Matching Game

A large percentage of my studio right now is beginner/early elementary students.  I like having simple and short games to play with them at the end of the lesson that reinforce concepts we are learning in their books.  Motor Music Match is a game that I created with these things in mind.  Take a look:

The point of the game is to match each car and sign to its proper place on the road where the rhythm value’s names are.  It’s a great game that only takes a minute or two, so it’s perfect for the end of the lesson where you have a little bit of extra time.  It would also work well to keep a copy of this game in your studio’s waiting room area.

When I first tested out this game with a student, he said, “There should be another level where it’s harder.”  That’s when I added the street signs.  :)  So, to follow his suggestion, first ask your student to match the cars.  When they are able to do that successfully, clear the road and add the signs to make the game a little harder.

To download the pdf for this game, visit the Printables > Games page and scroll down to the M’s for “Music Motor Match.”  Enjoy!

Reviews, Rhythm

Review: Rhythm Menagerie by Wendy Stevens

Wendy Stevens from the ComposeCreate blog has created a wonderful rhythm resource called Rhythm Menagerie.

The Basics

In Wendy’s own words:

“Rhythm Menagerie is designed to take away the distractions of note reading, articulation, and other music concepts so that students can focus on having fun while strengthening their rhythm!”

Rhythm Menagerie is a 93-page pdf for teachers to use with their students.  The license permits teachers to print as many copies as they wish as long as they are using it with their own students.  Rhythm Mengerie is for sale on Wendy’s website for $34.99.  (Wendy has kindly offered to give Color In My Piano readers a limited-time discount, however — read to the bottom of this post to learn more!)  Continue reading “Review: Rhythm Menagerie by Wendy Stevens”

Rhythm, seasonal / holiday, Teaching Piano

Christmas Rhythm Learning Moments

As I’m sure is currently the case with many of you, my students are working on Christmas pieces along with their usual assignments.  As usual, a few of them have encountered rhythmic “simplifications” in their arrangements (Away in a Manger and Go Tell it on the Mountain come to mind).  After pointing it out the difference between what they played and what is on the page, together we made the executive decision to play the rhythm as it is normally heard.  We also took a moment to discover what is the actual rhythmic notation of the tune and then marked it in the score above the staff.  For a more complete discussion of this issue, check out this Forum Q&A post regarding rhythmic simplification in arrangements.

A few of my students in particular are really thriving on these Christmas pieces!  Once again, I am reminded of the value of learning familiar tunes.  I find that it gives students an extra boost in learning their pieces, since they can depend more on their ear for pitches/rhythms rather than their eyes.  This means they will learn the pieces quickly and more accurately.  I also find that playing familiar tunes is a huge motivator for students.  They love to be able to play tunes they know!

Hurrah for Christmas music!  :)

For a listing of free Christmas music arrangements on the internet, check out this post

Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks | CC 2.0

Composition, Games, Group Classes, Music Camps, Printables, Rhythm

Make Me A Rhythm! game

I was recently browsing some forums online and found a description of this game by a music educator.  It sounds like a great game to use with large groups of students — perhaps for group lessons or summer camps.  I asked the music educator if I could post about the game on my blog, and she kindly agreed.  In her own words: “You certainly have my permission to share the game. I made it up, but someone else probably has, too. We all get ideas from one another and put them together in different ways.”  I love her attitude and generosity!  We teachers have so much we can share and learn from each other.

This composing/rhythm game is appropriate for groups of about 8 or more students.  All you need are 4 pieces of paper with the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 written on them.  These sheets serve to mark the beats of the measure, spaced out on the floor.  One student is chosen as the Composer, who must select students and make them into quarter notes/half notes/whatever.  Once the measure is complete, everyone claps the rhythm and the teacher records the rhythm onto a whiteboard to save it.  A new Composer is chosen to compose the next measure.  In the end, everyone claps the entire rhythmic composition to see what it sounds like.

I haven’t tried out this game yet, but it sounds fun!  And it’s not always easy to find games that work for large groups of students.  I just might try out this game at my studio Christmas party coming up.  :)

Complete game instructions can be printed by downloading the pdf on the Printables > Games page.  I thought the game needed a more specific title, so I came up with “Make Me A Rhythm!”

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.

Continue reading ““Musical Hopscotch” game”

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”

Interviews, Rhythm

Teacher Feature | Mariel Mohns

It’s halfway through the month already, which means it’s time for a…

Teacher Feature!  :)  Meet Mariel from Mississippi!

Please tell us about your piano and/or teaching background!

I started taking piano lessons when I was 4 years old and loved piano, but when I was in the 5th or 6th grade, I quit lessons for various reasons.  I continued to play through middle school and high school, and started working on more advanced repertoire on my own.  Since I didn’t have a teacher, however, my technique was very limited.  I was accepted into the Lawrence Conservatory of Music for college, and with the help of my very understanding studio professor, learned proper technique skills I needed to really develop as a pianist.  During my freshman year of college, I taught a few students and HATED it. I never wanted to teach again (I didn’t have the patience for it), but after taking the piano pedagogy courses in college and learning how to formulate lesson plans and a bit more about childhood education, I absolutely fell in love with teaching and knew I wanted to start a private studio!!  Continue reading “Teacher Feature | Mariel Mohns”