Student Activity Binders

Every good pedagogy student and music teacher knows that it’s important to teach more than repertoire.   There’s lots of extra “stuff” that goes into a well-balanced piano curriculum.   Stuff like theory… and sightreading… and rhythm, technique, ear training, music history, improv, composing… and the list goes on!  During the month of July, I often find that my desk is buried under piles of … Continue reading

Simon Says Symbol Game

During the summer months, my lesson plans tend to be a little lighter on theory than during the year.    But… I like to pull out games every couple of weeks just to make sure that students don’t forget all that they learned during the previous school year!   A couple of weeks ago, I came up with this new game to review symbols: We … Continue reading

More Floor Staff Fun

Thanks to all of you who shared ideas for creating and using on-the-floor staff lines (see last post).    All of my students last week were curious about the “funny-looking green tape on the floor”, which meant the staff got a LOT of use (and I remembered to take a few pictures to share)! In addition to the beanie babies I picked up, I went … Continue reading

Tasty Triads

A visit to one of my favorite ice cream shops over the holiday weekend provided an inspiration for a new studio game!  (Isn’t it funny what sparks teaching ideas?)   In their last group class of spring semester, my intermediate students learned to identify and construct diminished and augmented triads, in addition to major and minor.     To give them a chance to review … Continue reading

Harmonization Worksheets

As a follow-up to the Connect-A-Chord game I used at my April group classes, I whipped up several short melody harmonization worksheets.    I’m planning to do more composing and improv with students over the summer, and these make a great “warm-up” activity to get us thinking that way again. The Connect-A-Chord game challenged students to think of all the possible triads that could go … Continue reading

Listening TWISTER!

Several years ago I adapted a Twister game to use in my studio.  Since then, it’s become a yearly tradition to play it at the last group lesson of the year.    This year, we used it to drill interval recognition. To make the game music friendly, I add small strips of painter’s tape to each of the dots on the mat.    For this … 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

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

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