Mancala & Egg Carton Rhythms

What can you do with a mancala board, an empty egg carton and a handful of colored gemstones? Teach eighth notes (of course)!  Reader Rebecca Martin recently shared this wonderful hands-on idea with me… and it was too good not to pass on to all of you. 🙂   To introduce the concept of eighth notes, she guides students through an activity where they place … Continue reading

(New!) Measure Cards

Want a fun new way to teach your beginning students the concepts of time signatures, measures, AND counting by measures (all at once)?  Check out this new printable card set! When I teach time signatures to young students, we use the analogy of a house… a funny house with rooms that are ALL the same size.  We lay out evenly-spaced popsicle sticks to represent the … Continue reading

Rhythm Dictation Fun

Nothing says spring time quite like flowers, sunshine and….. WORMS? During the months of April & May, our studio musicianship focus has turned to Listening & Ear Training.  At our group lessons last week, we added a fun spring time twist to rhythm dictation practice with these measuring worms I found at my local teacher supply store.   The worms come in 1, 2, 3 … Continue reading

KMEA Conference Follow-Up

Edit:  Unfortunately, this session was cancelled due to inclement weather.  I’m still in Kansas City waiting on the snowplow to find our neighborhood instead of enjoying a day with colleagues in Wichita. 🙁  I had set this message to auto-post while I was on the road, and forgot to un-schedule it.  But… in case any of you might find use for the handout, I’ll leave … Continue reading

Sensory Spotlight: Have a Ball with Rhythm

Some beginning students are naturals at rhythm.  As soon as they master the notes of a piece, more often than not, the rhythm just falls in place.  For other students, playing with a steady pulse and correct rhythms presents more of a challenge.   For a young student who struggles to feel rhythms, counting out loud or working with a metronome isn’t always the answer, at … Continue reading

Halloween Resource Round-Up

Looking for some fun Halloween-themed games and activities to use with your students this month?   Here’s a quick reference guide to all of the Halloween resources and game ideas available on  Enjoy! Games Pumpkin Patch Steps & SkipsTurn your studio floor or floor staff into a giant-sized step and skip game Build-A-Skeleton Interval Challenge A Halloween-themed game to play with interval flashcards Major-Minor Dash … Continue reading

Sensory Spotlight: Rhythms in the Sand

Want a fun, sensory way to introduce and reinforce rhythms that your elementary students will love?  Let them “play” with their rhythms in a simple, make-it-yourself sand garden: Several years ago, I had a sand & rock garden in my studio waiting room.  My students LOVED it – had I let them, some of them would have been happy to play with it for their … Continue reading

KMTA Conference Follow-Up

Thanks to all of you who attended this year’s KMTA Conference!  It was a pleasure to share some new games and “hands-on” musicianship resources with you.  I hope you discovered some new things to try with your students this summer and fall. Click on the link below to open an electronic version of your session handout that includes clickable links to each of the games … Continue reading

Build-A-Measure Rhythm Game

Here’s an update of an old favorite!   This Build-A-Measure Rhythm Game isn’t original to me – I picked up this idea years ago and have used it with my students at many, many group lessons. It’s a fun, simple way for students to drill rhythm values, and practice counting and clapping rhythms. Here’s how it’s played: To start, each student will need a time … Continue reading

Sensory Spotlight: Rhythm Dictation

I’ve posted several times about the beat boards and rhythm cards that are go-to rhythm aids in my studio.  I use them on a regular basis to introduce new rhythm concepts, and give my hands-on learners some extra practice on rhythm patterns (for more details, check out this post and this post). These aids are also a great interactive way to introduce and practice rhythmic … Continue reading