Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Trick or Treat Rhythm Parade

I think the cute graphics on these Rhythm Trick or Treat worksheets recently posted at "Ear Training and Improv.".are adorable, and my preschooler does too.  So after identifying the quarter and half notes on each page, I decided to extend the activity by cutting out all of the trick-or-treaters to form a rhythm parade.   We arranged the characters in different patterns and practiced clapping and counting the rhythms.
To start out I thought it would be fun to chant
"Treat" for the quarter notes
and "Boooo!" for the half.
Then we switched it up to regular counting.
Another fun variation might be to form 2 lines of characters.  The teacher claps one of the rhythm parades and the student has to guess which one they clapped.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Bach Halloween Music Listening Lab

Bach Toccata and Fugue in d minor for piano

Listen to the first part of this performance. 
1. A Toccata is a piece including fast-moving lightly fingered passages.  When does this song start to sound like a toccata?
2. Do you think the performer is using the pedal? Why or why not?

Bach Tocatta and Fugue in d minor for organ

3.  Bach was a Baroque composer.  The piano was not invented during his life, so his keyboard pieces were actually composed for organ or harpsichord.  How does the organ sound different than the piano?
4.  Different sets of keyboards on an organ are called manuals.  How many manuals do you see on this organ?
5.  A fugue is a piece that usually has 2 or more voices (melodies) that often imitate each other.

The lower "giant keys" played by the feet are called the pedalboard. How many black pedals can you count on the pedalboard?

Does this song sound
A.  Major Throughout
B.  Minor Throughout
C.  Some Major and Some Minor passages

Follow this link to Classics for Kids to hear more Spooky Halloween music!

You can find a simplified piano version at

Adapting Music Games

I started a new adventure this fall one of my children, so my piano blogging has been pretty sparse the last few months.  I have a new respect for homeschooling moms!  Because of the time crunch its created for me, I've fallen back on many piano games and resources already in my collection to make last minute lesson fun.  I tweaked the rules of some games a bit to make it more novel and challenging for my students.

For example I used the Tic Tac Toe Notenaming  cards from Susan Paradis to start lessons out with a quick game of "Don't eat the Poison Pumpkin" (aka Don't eat Pete).  I chose a "poison" music alphabet letter.  Students had to correctly name the notes on the cards before removing m&ms from each space on the card. 

My Mitten Match Rhythm Cards from Sing a New Song were used to play BANG.  I just added a few contrasting "Rhythm Addition" cards of the same size to the piles, tossed them in a paper lunch sack and had 2 students take turns grabbing and clapping rhythm cards from their own bag to see who could collect 4 cards first.  I used different leveled rhythm cards to match the skills of my students.