Halloween Rhythm Dictation

I really like to use the words of familiar songs or catchy phrases to reinforce rhythm concepts.  Students naturally speak in rhythm, whether they’re aware of it or not, so it’s a great way to relate a “new” rhythm concept to something they already know.  Interestingly, I also find that choosing the right rhythm to go with lyrics is one of the hardest challenges for … Continue reading

Build-A-Skeleton Interval Challenge

It’s group week again in my studio!  I’ve got some new Halloween-themed games and activities planned, and thought I’d try to get them all posted toward the beginning of this week in case anyone else was looking for some last-minute ideas for holiday-themed activities to use in lessons. To review intervals this week, my students will have a spooky task: put together a skeleton puzzle! … Continue reading

Halloween Composing Ideas

This week is the first group week of the new school year in my studio!  I’m really excited to be starting group lessons again – they’re always my favorite part of each month.   I’ve been busy working on some new activities, which means I’ll have LOTS of new things to post over the next week or two (to make up for all the posting … Continue reading

The Holidays Are Coming…

… and this year, I have vowed that I WILL stay on top of sorting through, ordering, organizing, and getting music to my students in a timely manner, so that when the Halloween and Christmas recitals roll around, I won’t be asking myself why we didn’t start our music just a little bit sooner. Each Halloween, one of the local associations I belong to sponsors … Continue reading

Christmas Carol Harmonizations

It’s the last week of the semester!   The downtown holiday program has been performed!   Wonderful Christmas music has been shared in group lessons!  The last recordings for each student’s Christmas CD have been made, colorful covers added, and CDs placed under the Christmas tree ready for pick-up!    We have just one lesson left before a two-week break, just enough time to accomplish….. hmmm, what are … Continue reading

Christmas Rhythm Dictation Sheets

As I was working on planning rhythm and movement activities for group lessons this month, I had the idea to tweak my usual (rather ho-hum) rhythmic dictation sheets and add a holiday theme:    Both of these songs use half, quarter and pairs of eighth notes.   In We Wish You a Merry Christmas, students only choose between quarter and eighth notes.  In Up on the … Continue reading

Find the Mistake: Christmas Carols

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 … Continue reading

Jingle Bell Pattern Signs

It’s group lesson week again in my studio, and since it’s our last group lesson week before Christmas break, I’ve been incorporating Christmas tunes and themes into many of our activities.   I used the following activity with groups of first-year students this week: In previous groups, we had been learning to recognize simple melodic patterns (up, down, repeat) both aurally and visually. For this activity, I made signs … Continue reading

44 Days (and counting) to Christmas!

We must be nearing that time of the year again.  I recently had a conversation with a couple of other teachers that started with a question that seems to be (in music teacher circles) as seasonal as pumpkin pie. “So… what are each of you getting your students for Christmas this year?” Some ideas were tossed out, and with each one we all proceded to do … Continue reading

12 Days of Halloween: Rhythm & Composing Activity

It’s group week in my studio this week, which meant it was a perfect week to work on some Halloween-themed activities.   I always use group lessons as an opportunity for students to perform for each other, then spend extensive time on rhythm, listening and theory for the rest of the hour.  Here’s what we’re doing this week: I found some fantastic re-written lyrics to the … Continue reading