My Music Feels….

Does anyone remember the old “How Are You Feeling Today” posters that used to hang on the wall in clinic waiting rooms and school counselor’s offices?  

We’ve been having some fun in my studio this fall with a couple of similar graphic aids, designed to help students experiment with creative expression at the piano.  


Students fill in the blank smiley faces in this chart with contrasting expressions, then find a way to express each musically.

It gives us a great opportunity to talk about what physical and technical things we do as musicians to express an abstract emotion (great for those young concrete-thinkers!).    Students choose dynamics, tempos, articulations, even ranges of the piano that help them to create a sounds that matches the emotion they are trying to convey.    The bigger the contrast between ideas, the better.   Playing an expression that’s totally wrong for a piece of music can really help students to understand what techniques they need to use to make it sound right.   An activity like this is a great way to make any part of a lesson more fun and musical – from repertoire, to sightreading to scales!

I use the 2-face version with my elementary kids, but also made a 4-face version to use with older students who can handle more ideas at once.   A couple of my middle school students have had fun using emoticons (AKA, those “texting” faces :)) to create expressions:

The 2- and 4- face graphics are available for download on the Studio Aids page of this site.  You’ll find a couple of different format options:  JPEG images that can be downloaded and used with iPad Whiteboard apps (I recently picked up an iPad for my studio and LOVE it!), and also printable PDF versions that can be laminated and used with dry erase markers. 

My Music Feels... (4 Faces)
My Music Feels... (4 Faces)
My Music Feels4.jpg
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My Music Feels... (2 Faces)
My Music Feels... (2 Faces)
My Music Feels2.jpg
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My Music Feels... (4 Faces)
My Music Feels... (4 Faces)
My Music Feels4.pdf
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My Music Feels... (2 Faces)
My Music Feels... (2 Faces)
My Music Feels2.pdf
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Comments

My Music Feels…. — 3 Comments

  1. Love this! I have really been working with my students to “set the mood” for their piece and used the old silent movie with the “organist” example that we have to make our listeners “feel” our music.

    Also I just purchase a Crayola activity board which allows me to slip in the paper and use the dry erase board on the front without having to laminate. My students love it!

    Thanks for this again, Jen!

    • Hi Diane,

      I need to get one of those Crayola Boards! Laminate has gotten really pricey in the last year or two… thanks for the reminder!! (And I LOVE the silent movie explanation!).

      Jen

  2. What a great visual aid Jennifer – really gives you an insight into which students understand the mood behind their pieces. I’m a big believer in not assuming anything (in terms of student understanding) so I love this idea! Especially love the modern tie-in with emoticons 🙂

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