Monday, October 23, 2017

Theory Headbandz Group Music Game

Music Teaching Theory Group Game
If you are looking for a fun interactive way to reinforce music terms and symbols Hedbanz is a great place to start! I used this musical twist on Hedbanz as the opening game for my Spooktacular Halloween Monster Mash group lessons this month and again for the UVMTA workshop I taught on maximizing learning through creative activities in music lessons.  
My kids love the traditional version of Hedbanz where you try and guess the word or picture on your card while others act it out for you... kind of a group twist on charades.   I have also attended several parties where you get a name of a well-known person stuck to your back and then must ask yes or no questions to figure out your identity.  The Hedbanz just make it a lot easier for everyone to see who you are.  So I melded these two games by adding a flashcard (hidden from the student's view) to the top of their hedbanz as they entered. They had to ask questions to other students to try and figure out their identity.  Am I a rhythm? Do I tell you how fast to play?  I love how this activity really engaged all of the students at once because they not only had to think of effective questions to narrow down the possibilities of their term, but they also had to answer questions to help others identify who they were.  Since I just used traditional flashcards, even beginning students who may not have known all of the terms could peek at the answers on backs of others cards if needed to be able to know the name and meaning of their terms.

Monday, October 16, 2017

There once was an Ant Named Andante...

ANdANTe = Walking Speed
There once was an ANT named ANdANTe.  He was a very cautious ANT, he never liked to run because he was afraid he might fall and get hurt.  So ANdANTe WALKED everywhere.  One day when he was out with his friends it started to rain and the other ants ran for cover, but not ANdANTe.

ANdANTe marched down to the ground to get out of the rain. (Tap walking speed on your lap as you sing to the tune of “The Ants Go Marching”)  So if you spy ANdANTe remember to walk and not run!
Check out these tempo posters on Colourful Keys including one to remember Andante!

Friday, October 13, 2017

How to Maximize Learning in Music Lessons

The time at music lessons just seems to fly by each week because time flies when you are having fun!   Following are some ideas and links to resources I shared at the UVMTA Workshop: Spicing up Music Lessons-Using Creative Activities to Maximize Learning  At the end of the post is a youtube video recording of the entire workshop.

Piano teaching tips

Making the Most of Music Lesson Minutes: Lessons I learned from a stick figure spotlight

Several years ago I marveled as I watched my son's exceptional kindergarten teacher spotlight a child in the class while simultaneously power packing the moment with teaching concepts. The wheels started churning in my own mind as I tried to think of how I could apply this same strategy to piano instruction.

Instead of just spouting off random facts about the child such as "Today we are spotlighting Sammy.  He likes___, _____, _____ and _______ and is the 3rd of 4 children...etc," she sandwiched into a simple spotlight some auditory, kinesthetic, visual activities which had all of the children's attention completely focussed on her and engaged in the learning activity.
As she drew a circle (head) on the whiteboard, each child traced an orange circle in the air with their finger and sang round orange circle. As she added each shape they traced, identified sides, sang and at the same time were trying to figure out the mystery child by looking for clues around them. The lessons continued as they used similar activities to sound out and spell his name in the air.
Following are some of the key ingredients that I think really made this moment effective.

Multi-Tasking to the Max- The minutes at weekly music lessons are limited. By packing in multiple concepts in a way that doesn't overwhelm students they will walk away learning and be retaining even more. Efficient use of time involves multi sensory activities ideally done simultaneously.
Use Appropriate Teaching Order (Hear, Feel, See, Name)-

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Teaching Scales with a Story

Would you rather hear "Once upon a time... " or "This is .... This is.... This is....?"

For me, concepts cleverly couched in a story line become much more memorable than a dry lecture.  To introduce the sounds of the scales I created this story activity.

Major and Minor Scale Story

"Once upon a time a happy couple named Mr. and Mrs. Scale were excited to welcome some new scales into their family.  In time their 4 Scale daughters were destined for popularity and were heard throughout Musiclandia.  As their children grew, their true personalities began to show and it wasn't always pleasant sounding around the Scale home.

Teaching Scales Sad Natural Minor Mad Harmonic Minor Bad Melodic Minor Glad Major

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

3 Stick Prop Tricks to Make Music Teaching Stick

The element of surprise or salience can be a key component determining whether or not students remember concepts that we demonstrate.  Rather than just telling or explaining, it is much more effective to demonstrate or engage students in memorable meaningful activities relating to the concept we are trying to convey.
Years ago when I introduced “Airplane Pilot” a simple piece with open fifths to my preschooler I noticed her playing with very little wrist rotation even though she was hitting the right notes.