Pattern Recognition Activities

In my beginner groups this week, we did a quick activity focused on pattern recognition. I created large-type, one measure signs of the melody to “This Old Man” and scattered them throughout my studio.   To start the activity, I had each student run to stand by a sign and clap it’s rhythm to the group.  Next, we diagrammed the melodic shape of each pattern … Continue reading

Candy Listening B-I-N-G-O

In many of my group lessons this week, students are working on aural interval identification.   For a few lucky students, this skill comes naturally.  For most, it takes a LOT of (sometimes frustrating) practice.   Here’s one of the games we’re doing this month to make that practice a little less tedious: Candy makes everything better, right?!?  This is a “reverse” game of BINGO … Continue reading

Fun Rhythm Dictation

I’m planning to do some rhythm dictation with my elementary students in groups this week, and liked the sheets I made at Christmas so much that I decided to come up with something for spring.    I looked through a couple of my favorite silly song websites (if you don’t know about them, check out the Kididdles and Bus Songs sites), and this song caught … Continue reading

Connect-A-Chord Game

It’s almost group week in my studio again!   Next week is the last groups of the semester, which makes me a little sad – group classes are my favorites!   Since our studio recitals are scheduled for next month, we’re going to be devoting  a good portion of most classes to performing, but will still have time for a few games to wrap up … Continue reading

Interval Worksheets

When it comes to teaching music theory, I’m much more of a hands-on teacher than a workbook teacher.   In fact, several years ago I stopped using written theory books with my elementary students and transitioned to a games and manipulative-based curriculum, supplemented by some computer drills.   But… I do have a handful of students, mostly older, who really learn best through a written, … Continue reading

Giant Sightreading Cards

I decided as I was doing some lesson planning last night that it needed to be a “fun” sightreading week in my studio.  Part of our weekly private lesson routine is to start each lesson with sightreading and/or technique.   Many students will be arriving at lessons a little stressed this week.  At school, they’re working on state assessments, plus in our studio we’re down … Continue reading

Legato & Staccato: In the Sand!

I love to find ways to turn musical concepts into hands-on experiences for my students.   Recently, I’ve had a number of students learning about legato and staccato, so re-purposed this old waiting room toy into a teaching aid: This is a desktop sand garden that was given to me several years ago.   I removed all the rocks, and leveled the sand to turn … Continue reading

Scale Step Worksheet Fixed

Just a quick note before teaching this afternoon… Any of you who tried to download the Major-Minor Scale Step Worksheet on my website designed to go with the Major/Minor Scale Identification activity likely came across an error with the file when you tried to download.  Thanks to those of you who took time to email and let me know!  I’ve got the glitch fixed – … Continue reading

Interval Word Race Game

Here’s another game I used in group lessons last week.   Each of these cards spells out a word using intervals.  Students are given a starting note, then record each “stopping place” as they follow the directions: For example, in the card above they would start on “C”, then find the letters A-G-E-D by mapping intervals to arrive at the word “CAGED.”   It’s helpful … Continue reading

Dizzy Fifths Spinner Game

Just enough time today for a quick post before students start to arrive for the evening… I mentioned last week that I had raided my studio closet to come up with enough games and activities to review a year’s worth of theory in group classes.  In doing so, I pulled out some of my favorite “old” games that hadn’t been off the shelf in a … Continue reading