Games, Group Classes, Motivation, Music Camps, Music Theory, Resources, Rhythm, Teaching Piano

Group Piano Class Ideas

I recently came across this great video/podcast on Mario Ajero’s YouTube channel: an interview with pianist and piano pedagogue Dr. Julie Knerr.  Both Maria Ajero and Julie Knerr are graduates from University of Oklahoma’s widely recognized piano pedagogy program.  In this video, Dr. Knerr shares some of her game ideas for her group piano classes — which she holds weekly in addition to her student’s weekly private lessons — to build a variety of musicianship skills.  Check it out!

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EbQDrLwkxo&feature=PlayList&p=F4AF6DA098C0399F&index=0&playnext=1

Most of these activities could be easily modified for use during a private lesson, music camp, studio party, and other settings.  You can visit Dr. Knerr’s website at julieknerrpiano.com.  She has recently been co-writing a new piano method series called Piano Safari (as mentioned back in this post) available by order via PayPal at pianosafari.com.

Be sure to also check out more great podcasts at Mario Ajero’s website, The Piano Podcast.

Early Childhood Music, Resources, Rhythm

Babies and Music

Check out this interesting news article, reporting about a research study done on babies and their response to rhythm versus speech.  Here’s the summary from another site reporting on the same research:

Human infants are born to dance, researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Psychologists from the United Kingdom and Finland played an assortment of classical and children’s songs, drumbeats, baby talk, and regular speech for 120 infants ages 5 to 24 months. Speech inspired little motion, but music consistently got the babies into the groove. They moved to music with a clear rhythm and adjusted their movements as the beat varied. And the better the babies matched their motion to the music, the more they smiled. So while it remains a mystery how humans evolved our musical wiring, it’s now clear we enjoy it and always did.  (news.sciencemag.org)

Also see the corresponding video here.

Whether you believe that humans evolved their “musical wiring” or were created with it, this research confirms that humans have some sort of natural inclination towards music, apparent even at the youngest of ages.  It confirms what we as teachers have always known — humans should be developing their musical ability when they are young!

Isn’t it kind of amazing how well those babies in the video have a natural sense of beat?  I wish some of my students could keep a steady beat half as well as the babies in the video!  =D

Group Classes, Printables, Worksheets

Just Added: Hands & Fingers at the Piano Worksheet

Just added: a new free worksheet, available on the Printables > Worksheets page:

Hands & Fingers at the Piano

This worksheet is suitable for use with new young beginners, either in the private lesson setting or in the classroom piano setting.  (I would not recommend using this worksheet with older students, because there is only room for little hands to be traced on this worksheet!)  In this worksheet, the student is instructed to trace their hands, and label the finger numbers on each finger.

Worksheet Objectives:

  • The student recognizes the left hand versus the right hand.
  • The student learns the abbreviations “LH” and “RH.”
  • The student understands the fingering numbering system for piano (1-5), for both hands.

Click here to check it out now!

Early Childhood Music, Games, Group Classes, Resources

Early Childhood Music Online Resources

I’ve been digging around online lately, looking for early childhood music resources.  (Yes, I’m sorry – I’m still on this kick!)

Look what I found!  TONS of great links:

Songs / Sheet Music

Early Childhood Music, improving as a teacher, Resources

Music & Movement: Inseparable!

One of the reasons I’ve been considering offering early childhood music classes is because I am a firm believer in the strong relationship between music and movement.  As an undergrad, I took two semester of Dalcroze Eurhythmics which I found incredibly useful.  We learned movements that fit different meters and learned to respond expressively to music through our movements.  I think students would have a much easier time developing a good sense of beat and rhythm if they could learn it naturally through movement.  Even complex concepts such as 3 against 2 seem more natural when approached through movement rather than a purely theoretical approach.

Besides, movement is fun!  =)

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kwanie/ / CC BY 2.0

Announcements, Early Childhood Music

Early Childhood Music Classes

Lately, I’ve been considering offering pre-piano music classes for children and their parents — someday, when I have a private studio in my home again (Right now, I teach piano privately through my university’s community music school.).  My goal in providing these classes someday is to better prepare young children (think ages 0-5, especially) for private piano lessons.  So, this semester, I enrolled in an Early Childhood Music class to learn about the various methodologies (such as Orff, Kodaly, Gordon, Feierabend, etc.) for teaching music to young children.

I’m excited to think about starting up these classes someday.  Here’s some things I’m been thinking about…

Things to consider:

  1. Location/space – large, open room.
  2. Parents’ presence – required or not?
  3. Materials – songbooks, musical instruments, colored scarves, rugs, cd player, etc.
  4. Class size – six to ten, perhaps?
  5. Ages – 0-18 mo., 18 mo.-3 yrs, 3-5 yrs.
  6. Class duration – 30, 45, 50, or 55 minutes.
  7. Sessions – 7- or 14-week sessions.
  8. Goals – music literacy; musical experience; aural development; building the parents’ & children’s repertoire of music to share in the home; music as expression; building of pre-piano skills; etc.

Types of Activities:

  • Songs with motions
  • Listening & responding with movement (classical, folk, jazz, pop, etc.)
  • Fingerplays
  • Chants
  • Musical games
  • Other activities

I think these classes will be fun!  And I’m hoping that introducing  such classes will give my beginner piano students a head start once they begin private lessons.  Has anyone offered similar classes in their piano studios before?  I’d love to hear about it.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/ / CC BY 2.0