Pinatas have been a birthday party tradition at our house for years, and the tissue paper method makes them a cinch to put together. I created an ear training pinata game in just a few minutes for my piano group lesson this month. After forgetting to make the messy newspaper paper mache pinata in time one year for one my daughter's birthday party I decide to throw together an experimental tissue paper creation and it was so much easier, I've done it ever since then! I wrap a bundle of candy in tissue paper, add more layers with candy sandwiched in between, tie some yarn to the top and hang it on the swingset for an instant inexpensive pinata. For a musical twist, I planned to play different music samples and have students whack the yellow pinata if the music was major and the blue pinata for minor.
This activity kept all the students engaged simultaneously as they rotated between different roles. For some reasons, kids just love the gratifying feeling of smashing things so this game was a big hit.
Place interval posters in 4 different corners of the room. I drew pictures to represent well-known songs that begin with each melodic interval. Add a treat or prize inside each cup and then cover with tissue paper and attach with a rubber band.
Unison - Jingle Bells (optional)
Major 2nd- London Bridge
Major 3rd - Oh When the Saints
Perfect 4th - Here Comes the Bride
Perfect 5th - Star Wars.
Students take turns playing an interval on the piano (unison, major 2nd, major 3rd, perfect 4th and perfect 5th), punching the cup that matches the interval to grab a treat inside or racing to the corner with the matching interval. Many students find interval ear training quite challenging so I have them start by playing only ascending intervals with Middle C as the starting note.
I like to have something to engage all of the students while they listen to their peers perform. For this month's performances, students filled out the piano recital card Bingo from Teach Piano Today by selecting compliments that fit the strengths they heard from their peers performances.Major/Minor Chord Men
The order of performances was determined by the chord men cards they drew. We talked about identifying triads by looking at the root (bottom note) and then students played the letter names on their chord men while the others determined if the chord they heard was major or minor.
Skittles Staff Game
To review the notes on the grand staff we played the Skittle Staff Game from Susan Paradis. To speed up the game a bit, I quickly dealt out cards to each player face up so they could all be identifying and placing the skittles on their staff board at the same time instead of having to each wait to take turns. After 10 minutes, the winner was the player with the most skittles on their board, but they all felt like winners because they got to eat whatever was left on their board at the end.
This month at private lessons students will have additional opportunities to fill up their bull's eye challenges (in addition to weekly song goals) by completing more leaderboard challenges.
May Mashup Challenges
Sightreading - See how many measures you can sightread in a row with correct notes and rhythm (Bronze=30, Silver=40, Gold= 50). I use samples from my sightreading binder for this challenge with music that very gradually increases in difficulty. I love how it really gets my students counting out loud and choosing a slow tempo and looking over the sample before diving into sightreading because they learn pretty quickly that will bring them greater success.
Rhythm - Clap and Count Festival Compose Create Music Progressions Rhythm Samples or Pass off Levels on Rhythm Swing App
Notereading - Name and Play Susan Paradis Notes in the Fast Lane Sheets in the less than a minute (Bronze Bass F-Treble G, Silver Bass C- Treble C, Gold Bass Low G to Treble High F)
EarTraining - Master Festival Listening Tests by scoring at least 90% on your level or Pass off 10 Levels on the Bubble Tones App.