Games, Group Classes, Music Camps, Printables, Teaching Piano

Spell-A-Keyboard Game

This morning with my homeschool music class, I played this game with my students:

As I was lesson planning last night, I was trying to think of a new way to practice the names of the piano keys.  My homeschool music class is mostly a music history class, but we’ve been learning basic music/piano concepts too.  My students already know how to figure them the piano key names by counting from Middle C, but they need more practice to get them memorized.  So I came up with this game, which I called the “Spell-A-Keyboard Game.”

My students loved this game!  I gave them each a set of cards with words containing only A-G (I gave them only the three-letter words for today) and a silent keyboard or paper keyboard, and three glass gems (pennies or buttons work too).  Then I instructed them to “spell” the words from each flashcard by covering the right keys with glass gems.  If you are playing this game with students at the piano, you can require that students spell the letters in order from left to right, but on a silent keyboard there might not be room to do so (as in the example shown in the photo).

This game is a great way to practice the piano key names without it actually feeling like a drill!  My students really enjoyed seeing how quickly they could spell the words and were pretty proud of their work each time.

You can download the “Musical Alphabet Word Flashcards” on the Printables > Games page.  When I created the cards, I tried to pick mostly words that kids would know.  Enjoy!

Update: I just realized that Susan Paradis plays a game very similar to this, except the words are spelled on the staff!  Read more here.

Update: Read about the outdoor version of this game here, where I describe my Musical Olympics Camp.

Update: I also found a way to adapt this game to be used with two floor keyboards indoors, with two teams.  Click here for more info.

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!”
Group Classes, Music Theory, Teaching Piano, Worksheets

Music Worksheet: Identifying Space & Line Notes on the Staff

Here’s a new free music worksheet that I just added to the Printables page:

This worksheet introduces the idea of identifying the space notes on the staff using the mnemonics FACE and All Cows Eat Grass.  These are the only two mnemonics I use.  I don’t teach separate mnemonics for the line notes anymore (like Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge or Great Big Dogs Fight Animals) because it’s simply too much to try to keep 4 different mnemonics straight!  I have found that it’s easier for students to remember just two mnemonics and then learn to jump up a step from the nearest space note to identify a line note.

To download, visit the Printables > Worksheets page and scroll down to the I’s for “Identifying Space & Line Notes on the Staff.”  Enjoy!

  Identifying Space & Line Notes on the Staff worksheets (170.6 KiB, 48,475 hits)

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”

Group Classes, Music Theory, Worksheets

Just Added: “Gallery of Music” Symbol Drawing Worksheets

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!  I have a free printable to share today…

This is a set of simple worksheets for having students learn to draw various music symbols.  The worksheets can be used singly or in groups, depending on what concepts your students are currently learning.  I would encourage students to use colorful crayons to draw the symbols.

Here are the symbols covered on each page:

  1. Quarter, half, dotted-quarter, and whole notes.
  2. Quarter, half, dotted-quarter, and whole rests.
  3. Single eighth note, beamed eighth notes, eighth rest, and dotted quarter note.
  4. Treble clef, bass clef, staff, and grand staff.
  5. Barline, double barline, repeat sign, and time signature.
  6. Forte, piano, mezzo forte, and mezzo piano.
  7. Sharp, flat, natural, quarter note with flat.
  8. Slur, tie, staccato, accent.

If you have suggestions for more symbols to include in additional worksheets, let me know!

To download this set of worksheets, visit the Printables > Worksheets page and scroll down to the G’s for “Gallery of Music – Symbol Drawing Worksheets.”

P.S.: I received an email yesterday from the MTNA Collegiate Chapter at Butler University, asking if I’d send a link to the survey they created about online marketing for piano teachers.  They are looking for responses to help them with a session they will be presenting at the MTNA National Conference in NYC next month.  Please take a minute of your time to help them out!   http://tinyurl.com/butlersurvey2012

P.S.S.: Today is the last day to sign up to attend the MTNA National Conference at the early registration discount!  Visit mtna.org to learn more.  Hope to see you in NYC!

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!

Continue reading “Musical Instruments Quizzing/Sorting game”

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”