Monday, April 29, 2013

Piano Game Resource List by Concept & Level

It's not all black and white...a colorful approach to teaching!
I love playing games with my students and have accumulated quite a few over the years.  I love using them as quick lesson starters, group lesson fun or as a "treat" at the end of the lesson if we have a few minutes to spare.  Unfortunately some of them get "lost in the cabinet."   In an effort to better utilize all of my games, I've created this leveled game resource list with links to the sources so I can refresh on how to play them if needed.   I like how it makes it easier for me to browse my games by concept (notereading, rhythm, intervals, terms, etc.) and select the perfect match for my student's private lesson or group lessons.

Chord Construction Relay

I came up with this fun game for our group lesson to review Major Root Chords on the Staff.  I've found that kids typically love playing action games like this even more than sit down board game style activities.
What you need:
Giant Staff (or masking tape to make a temporary one)
Flat or Sharp Signs (made from felt or posterboard)
"Baton" like object

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lego Rhythm Construction Game

I started using legos in my studio a few years ago help solidify rhythmic concepts with my students after reading this Lego Rhythms post by Jen at  Some of the boys really thrived with this manipulative.  So after a quick activity at private lessons to review how to build rhythms using legos, we played a fun game at group lessons.  With all of the excitement I forgot to snap some photos... but here is a snapshot of 2 measures in 4/4 time "constructed" with legos so you can visualize what a lego measure looks like.
Lego Rhythm Construction Game

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Developing Super Sightreaders : Consecutive SR Contest

 Sightreading is one of the most practical skills for a pianist that is often neglected.... at least it was for me.  Over the past few years, I have searched for useful ways to incorporate sightreading practice more consistently in my studio.  One of my favorite tools to help improve sightreading skills for my elementary students is Diane Hidy's Sightreading Flashcards

The short sightreading samples are perfect for lesson starters (or enders) and have a very gradual increase in difficulty. The first few pages include different patterns of landmark notes and gradually add in skips and steps. 

I put the pages in sheet protectors in my teaching binder and then challenge students to see how many measures in a row they can play without a pitch or rhythm mistake as I play the same pattern in a lower octave on the keys.  This helps them hear rhythm and note errors immediately.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Funny Tip for Remembering the Meaning of Sharps and Flats

My little girl was curious about the Chord Construction Relay game I was setting up for the group lesson and as she started playing with the sharps and flats this idea popped into my head.

Which is higher?
A SHARP mind 
 or a FLAT stomach?

Her curiosity doesn't stop with music though.   Just in case someone you know gets curious like she did and shampoos their hair with petroleum jelly and it looks like this....

you can wash it out with cornstarch :0)  It took me a few days and a lot of shampoo & dish soap before I figured this out so my sweet little girl had stringy wet looking hair for a few days :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"Mountains to Climb" Practice Incentive

"Give me Mountains to Climb...
Give me something that's gonna make me better than I was."
As I listened to these lyrics in the inspiring song entitled "Mountains to Climb" by Erin Thomas (available for free download on youth  site) it sparked the idea for a practice incentive.  A few ideas that come to mind are
Scale Mountain (Scales)
Rocky Rhythm Mountain (Rhythm Drills)
Sightseeing Mountain (Sightreading)
Echo Mountain (Ear Training)
??????????????? MountainTheory