Beginning piano students can gain experience and confidence with this free printable introducing a simple improvisation activity with an ice cream theme and Do Re Mi Solfa patterns. More experienced students can explore rhythmic dictation, ear training and add more complexity to their composition by extending the range of notes or adding harmony.
Do-Re-Mi Ice Cream Improv Free Sheet Music
For the first measure in each line, sing and make Solfa Hand Signs for Do (C), Re (D) and Mi(E). If students are just learning solfa for the first time you could opt to relate the hand signs to their ice creation using the following comparisons to make them a bit more memorable as they imitate you.
You begin with "Do" (closed fist) that looks like a scoop of ice cream.
Next, reach your hands upwards "Re" to reach for a topping on the shelf
"Mi" is the last topping and then it's ready for "me"(tap self using mi hand sign) to eat!
For the measures with X'd notes, clap a rhythm that matches the ice cream topping of your choice (Hot Fudge, Raspberries, Bananas, etc.)
Ear Training Harmony
Add chords by ear (I & V) Which note sounds best with your melody?
Bass Note: Does the Tonic (C) or Dominant (G) note sound best?
Root Chord: Add a 3rd and 5th above the bass note to play a root chord.
Chord Inversions: Playing chord inversions is often easier than leaping from root to root.
Rhythmic/ Melodic Dictation
When composing it can sometimes be tricky to remember exactly how you played a melody that you improvised. Rhythmic memory tends to be a bit stronger than melodic so start with quickly writing down the order of the letter names while they are fresh in your memory (melodic dictation).
Next, move on to rhythmic dictation by using a bed bug or heartbeat board to aid in figuring out the rhythmic pattern.
How many different melodic variations of your topping can you create on the piano?
Experiment with changing up the "motif" of your topping by using different some of the different composing techniques such as retrograde, diminution, sequence, etc. as explained on this Compose Create blogpost by Wendy Stevens.
Or you could add an intro or ending using some tips from Bradley Sowash.
For even more fun you could host an ice cream piano party where students get to perform their ice cream creations for each other as well as being motivated throughout the month by challenges of their choice.