An “off” day in the studio a couple of weeks ago provided the inspiration for this activity. I’d like to blame this on a change in the weather or perhaps a few brains that had checked out early for Thanksgiving break, but I spent a day listening to student after student play through familiar Christmas tunes, missing notes and seeming oblivious to the errors. Call me optomistic, but I’d like to think that my students have gleaned enough from lessons to know that something’s up when Silent Night gains or loses a handful of flats between repetitions.
These two sets of activity cards challenge students to awaken their “inner music teacher ears.” Each card shows 8 measures of a familar Christmas melody. On the first set of cards, each melody is printed correctly. I handed these out to students along with a handful of small gemstone “markers.” I played the melody, adding a few mistakes, as they followed along on the cards. I first challenged them to drop a marker on each measure where they heard a mistake, and then played again and challenged them to drop the marker on the exact note that was missed.
The second set of cards uses the same melodies as the first cards, but these have typos in the printed music. Since they had just heard these songs (and they were familiar to most of the kids anyway), I challenged students to find and mark mistakes on these cards without me playing the melodies. They had to rely on their internal hearing to compare how the song should sound with what they saw on the page and find discrepancies.
The cards are available for download HERE. Both versions of each song print on the same page; you’ll want to cut them apart and make sure students only get one at a time (otherwise they’ll be able to use the correctly printed version to find the typos in the second!).