Monday, April 11, 2011
Let's Play Music
I was introduced to the "Let's Play Music" program by another teacher at one of our local music club meetings and I recently attended one of their "Connections" seminars to learn a little bit more about the program.
The element that piqued my interest the most was the frequent use of songs as teaching tools for basic elements of music theory. I liked the catchy melody of "Every chord has got to have a root..." on their online video. Listening to it makes the words "The Note above the Gap's the Root, it just has rearranged" start jiving around in my brain. The program includes several other clever songs for teaching the concepts of intervals, inversions, scales and rhythm patterns.
I've been introducing my younger students to finger numbers with a variation of "Where is Thumbkin" for a while, but I really like this additional verse they add in "Let's Play Music" because it adds one more reminder of correct hand position - a concept that seems to need constant reinforcement with young beginners.
"Where is Bubblehand... Here I am... Fingers Flat are Trouble, Try to Use a Bubble..."
Musical Form Puppetshows
Another aspect of "Let's Play Music" that I am impressed with is that the students experience most musical concepts through movement, auditory or physical motions before learning the "labels." I think this approach especially helps young learns to internalize concepts better. The video on their site demonstrates how this is done with the use of puppets to help students learn about form while listening to classical music.
I am always eager to pick up new tidbits of piano teaching tips and was happy to walk away with several after attending this seminar.
Kit Kat Black Key Groups
The chocoholic in me was tempted with the idea to use Kit Kat's broken in groups of 2's and 3's as an introduction to black keys on the piano with this fun little rhyme-
"Find a group of 2, Down 1 is C
Find a group of 3, it's F yippee!".
Maybe I'll incorporate that idea in making my piano-loving-daughter's next birthday cake, because a stash of Kit Kat's in my piano things wouldn't last very long at our house :)
"Paint Ball" Staccatos and Slurs
When teaching staccato vs. legato I like the analogy they used of a ball dipped in paint. When you roll it smoothly across a blank page it leaves a line (slur), but when you bounce it, it leaves a dot (staccato mark). I don't think I'll be teaching this "experientially" - although I'm sure children would love it if I did!
If any of you have had experiences with "Let's Play Music" either as a teacher or teacher of former students, feel free to share a comment, or to learn more straight from the source visit the Let's Play Music Site.