In recent conversations with a couple of piano teachers, I was asked there is a review available here on my blog about Music Play, a book I like to draw from for movement and ear/audiation activities with my young daughter and my piano students. Look no further, friends — here’s my full review!Continue reading “Review: “Music Play” Early Childhood Music Curriculum by Edwin E. Gordon et al.”
Category: Early Childhood Music
Early Childhood Music with my 17mo Daughter
In my last post, I mentioned I am delivering a presentation for NCKP 2021’s Virtual Conference tomorrow. My presentation shares about a personal research project conducting early childhood music (ECM) activities with my daughter throughout her first year of life. It’s been fun and rewarding to see Aria’s musical development up close, and I am learning so much from the process. I have hundreds of videos I’ve been collecting, logging, and analyzing!
I thought it might be fun to share a video of Aria here on my blog, for my readers as well as for any NCKP conference attendees interested in seeing a more recent video clip. The video below was taken a few days ago, with Aria at 17 months old.
The ECM activities I do with Aria are based on Edwin E. Gordon’s Music Learning Theory (MLT). I took a two-week summer certification training Early Childhood Music Level 1 offered through the Gordon Institute for Music Learning (see GIML.org) back in 2017, and have been putting my training to good use since Aria was born in February of 2020. I took the Piano Level 1 certification the summer prior to that, which I blogged about here.
Here is the video, as well as a short description of what you’ll observe in the video.Continue reading “Early Childhood Music with my 17mo Daughter”
Musicking With Baby As She Grows: 3 Considerations
A few readers have recently asked me:
“What are your plans, music-wise, for your new baby girl as she grows up?”
This blog post will answer that question!Continue reading “Musicking With Baby As She Grows: 3 Considerations”
Group Class Ventures with Music Learning Theory (MLT)
Since taking the Piano Certification Course through the Gordon Institute for Music Learning (GIML) last August, I have been slowly but surely working towards integrating Music Learning Theory (MLT) principles into my teaching approach.
Much of this integration is subtle at this point and yet, it is having a definite impact on my students.
I’ve also had the opportunity to experiment more directly with an MLT-based teaching approach in a couple of new group music classes I’ve been offering over the past few months.
The first opportunity arose when one of my piano parents asked if I might consider doing some kind of group music class with her two piano students as well as three of her other children who take lessons in guitar, flute, and violin. She was interested in her kids receiving additional help with rhythm, theory, and more, to support their private lessons. I told her more about the GIML training I received and how I felt it would be ideal for her kids and that I would be thrilled to have the opportunity to experiment more with this approach. So, now I’m teaching a weekly 30-minute group music class (not geared towards piano playing) with 5 siblings between the ages of 7 and 12. Afterwards, I give the two piano students their private lessons.
The second opportunity arose when a local violin teacher reached out to me asking about lessons for her 4-year-old son. Ultimately, we settled on having a weekly 30-minute group class with her son as well as her two other young children. The five of us are exploring music together using the Music Play early childhood music curriculum as the basis.
So far with both classes, I’ve been loosely following the lesson plan outline that Marilyn Lowe suggests in her Keyboard Games (KG) books (see image below). I’m pulling songs and rhythm chants from her KG books, Music Play, and the ECMC Songs and Chants Without Words, Book One.
Continue reading “Group Class Ventures with Music Learning Theory (MLT)”
Jumbo Note-Naming Flashcards
There are quite a few places you can download and print free music note-naming flashcards. Anne Crosby’s website and Susan Paradis’ website come to mind, for example. However, I recently realized that I wanted a set of jumbo-sized cards, to use with my Piano Readiness classes.
I can hold up these jumbo-sized cards during class and my young students can still see the note on the staff. Young beginners or students with disabilities may also benefit from having jumbo-sized flashcards.
I color-coded my flashcards according to the range of notes. I printed the Middle C position notes on green paper, the next few notes up to Treble C and down to Bass C on yellow paper, and the next notes up to High C and Low C (ledger lines) on blue paper.
You can download this FREE pdf on the Printables > Other Resources page, under “Jumbo Note-Naming Flashcards.”
Jumbo Note-Naming Flashcards (459.7 KiB, 44,945 hits)
Yesterday, I asked for your favorite game ideas involving note-naming flashcards. I can’t wait to try out some of your ideas — keep ’em coming!
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.
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!
Finger Number Beanbag Game (177.7 KiB, 17,404 hits)
Updated Beginner Piano Signs Printable
I’ve added a new sign to the pdf pack called “Signs for Beginner Piano,” which I originally posted in September. This new sign shows the 2 mnemonics I use when I teach piano:
You can find the whole pdf on the Printables > Other Resources page, and scroll down to the S’s for “Signs for Beginner Piano.”
Grand Staff Pass Game
I’m back! I took a long blogging break over the holidays, but I’m super excited to be back and I have lots of things to share in the upcoming weeks! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Years’.
Today, I am excited to share with you about a fun game I came up with for my students’ Piano Party last Saturday:
“Grand Staff Pass” is a activity for finding and naming notes on the grand staff. Each student has a printed grand staff in front of them, and must find the notes as indicated on the cards. The cards are passed to the next student, going counterclockwise around the room. Continue reading “Grand Staff Pass Game”
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. 🙂
Printable: Black Key Group Sorting Cards
A new free Printable has been added to the Printables page:
These cards are a great manipulative to use with young beginners when you are first introducing them to the keyboard. Students can use the cards to build a keyboard on the floor, alternating the groups of 2 and 3 black keys. Or, students can use these at the piano, and lay the cards right on the piano keyboard, matching the groups of black keys appropriately. I printed a few sets of these cards, laminated them, and put them in zipper bags. This short activity is great for Piano Readiness Classes.
There are two versions included in the pdf: one with the letter names on the keys, and one without. To download this free pdf, visit the Printables > Other Resources page and scroll down to the B’s for “Black Key Group Sorting Cards.” Enjoy!
Analyzing & Composing in the Romantic Style - Lesson Plans & Worksheets (1.0 MiB, 34,537 hits)
Thanks to Pinterest, I recently came across a blogger who designed some charming little finger puppets to go along with a few fingerplay songs she enjoys singing with her son! Her name is Kate, from the picklebums.com blog, and she generously offers each of the printables pictured below for free. I assembled a set of her beautiful finger puppets for my 4-year-old nephew as a birthday gift last month, and made myself a set, too, to use with my Piano Readiness class.
One of my all-time favorite fingerplays ever is Five Little Speckled Frogs (click for link to Kate’s puppet printable). I discovered this fingerplay during an Early Childhood Music course I took during graduate school.
Instruments of the Orchestra Study – FREE Orchestra Stage Pieces
With my music homeschool class, we have been studying the instruments of the orchestra. We started this endeavor a long time ago, starting with completing the Musical Instruments Workbook. We have also used Robert Levine’s book: The Story of the Orchestra, and frequently played this review game for remembering the names/families of the instruments.
When I found this “stand-up symphony” download from the St. Louis Symphony website, I knew this would be another great way to review the instruments — as well to as learn where the members of the orchestra sit onstage.
This was such a fun class project! Over the course of a couple of months, we cut out the figures, colored them, and then folded/taped them so they could stand. Continue reading “Instruments of the Orchestra Study – FREE Orchestra Stage Pieces”