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Friday, June 18, 2010

Monkey Says...On the Staff

After reading Natalie's excellent summary of the Faber's presentation on Fostering a Love of Music, I decided to play some spontaneous staff games with my daughter who is beginning to learn note names on the staff.
First she chose some colored lines of curling ribbon to help build our staff and treble clef on the carpet.

Then we"skipped" our monkey and cow up and down the spaces on the staff.
Next we added magnet letters to the staff gradually to label the spaces the monkey and cow were playing on. This evolved into a game of "Monkey Says" (like Simon Says). I let my daughter take the lead and tell me which space to skip or leap to. I was surprised at how much fun she was having calling out commands for me to follow like "Monkey says - skip to the A-space....Monkey says leap to the E space." Once she was pretty familiar with the space names, I had her choose one letter to remove at a time until she could remember all the space names easily.
When she spotted my jingle bells and kazoo in the piano preschool bench she decided it was time for the animals to have a party. We ended up playing "house" with the magnet letters that live on the treble staff. The mommy and daddy letters (uppercase) lined up in their "space" houses joined by their baby letters (lowercase) and then their animal friends came to join the party. My daughter enjoys counting things so I had her add up the toys in each space and she figured out that the "A-space" had the biggest party:)

I'm convinced that engaging in this activity "in the spirit of play" will be much more memorable for her than if I had just identified the space names for her.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Studio Organization with Stickers

I have grand ambitions of getting my piano studio totally organized over the summer. To start I purchased a few inexpensive tools to organize my piano studio - colored sticker circles and address labels.
Whenever I purchase music to add to my library, I stick one of my address labels on the back bottom corner.
I also use a color coding system based on the colors of the method books I use most often (Level 1 Blue, 2-Purple, 3-Yellow, 4-Green etc.). I fold a colored circle sticker over the spine of the books with the stickers placed lower on the spine for lower levels and higher on the spine for more advanced levels. This had made it so much easier for me to locate supplementary materials during lessons to check out to my students.
The next project I'd love to tackle is organizing my piles of flashcards and games. I plan to sew some clear vinyl pocketsto hang on the inside of my piano cabinet -that way I can easily access and see what is stored in each pouch but keep things out of sight when lessons are done. What are some methods you use to keep things organized in your studio?