This fun Halloween song from Susan Paradis's website (see link on the right) helps young beginners clearly distinguish between up & down stem notes. Try tapping the correct hand for the notes (down stems left, up stems right)to help. Say the hand as you tap...ex: left, left left, right: left, left left, etc. Once this is mastered they can tap finger #'s off the piano and then try it on the keys.
I discovered this fun music website for kids. Some of the material is geared towards "readers" several of the activities even young beginners could try. The "Radio" has many short clips from Classical Music. Try having your child listen to different samples and ask them to draw a picture of what the music makes them think of. When children can associate music with pictures, stories or emotions they end up being more expressive performers. The "Performalator" in the Music Lab can reinforce concepts of reading from left to right. It also reinforces the idea for children that notes high on the page are high on the keyboard, low on the page are low on the keyboard. Although it doesn't involve true music reading, kids can have fun "playing" familiar tunes on the keys like Twinkle Twinkle & Row Row Your Boat.
Click on the Faber Piano Adventures site at the right to watch a demonstration of this song. Often I like to introduce songs to preschoolers by first doing a larger body movement as they listen to it. For this one we pretended to be whales on the ground and swayed our "tails" to the rhythm.
This song comes from a Hap Palmer "Baby Songs-ABCs" video. My daughter loves all of their videos which we frequently check out at the local library. Even though they are a bit dated, they have fun "activity" songs for preschoolers. The songs are well-written with easy "catchy" tunes. For this particular song, kids get two sticks (spoons, pens, wands, shoes etc.) and tap them together "Tap your sticks to the right with a 1,2,3; Tap your sticks to the left with a 1,2,3..." with several variations like tap your sticks on the ground, hammer left with the right...etc. It helps them improve their sense of beat, encourages singing & helps them improve their coordination and listening skills.
To help my students learn piano (soft) and forte (loud), I played different excerpts from Classical music while they danced. When the music stopped they had to freeze & hold up a pianomouse sign (mouse picture w/ a piano symbol on it) or a fortelion sign (lion sign w/ a forte symbol on it) to show me what the music sounded like. They loved this activity, especially the "freeze" part!
This song introduces the sound of the major scale, which is used so frequently in Classical Music. For a movement activity we jumped in a circle to the music (1,2,3,4,5) and then bent down to knock the rhythm on books ("Tigers at my door") in the center of the circle. We knocked "forte" loudly with knuckles or tapped a finger "piano" softly to match the words of the song. Click the My First Piano Adventures Link at the Right to "Watch Nancy" demonstrate this song at the piano on the video tour. (Lesson Book p. 28)
I love to reading and music so sing-a-long books are some of my favorites because they help my kids be more musical and better readers at the same time. Singing also helps children improve their sense of rhythm and aural memory. Sometimes I tap the rhythm of the song below the words on the page or bounce them on my lap to the beat or rhythm of the song. At the Portneuf Library I found "Piggies" by Don & Audrey Wood. The illustrations are adorable and very captivating for young children. I made up my own melody while reading it and changed the words a bit to help review finger #s. Ex: "I've got two fat little piggies" sitting on finger ___. (one). I have the students wiggle the fingers the piggies are sitting on and say the corresponding finger # on each page where they introduce new "piggies." Then at the end of the book they "put them all together, all in a row" & tap thumbs together, then 2nd fingers, 3rd fingers, etc.
A few other sing-a-longs my kids enjoy: The Boy on the Busby Penny Dale - This is a fun variation of wheels on the bus. The Itsy Bitsy Spider by Iza Trapani - Trapani has a lot of sing-a-long books that have additional verses to the traditional songs. Click on her name to see more. You can find a lot of these at the library too. I'm a Little Teapot by Iza Trapani Twinkle, Twinkle, Litte Star by IzaTrapani Oh where oh where has my little dog gone? by Iza Trapani There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you see? by Eric Carle -the library has a music cd to go along with this favorite book that they use at storytime- but unfortunately it isn't available for checkout.
Do you have any other sing-a-long books that your kids enjoy?