Friday, April 16, 2010

A Quick Little Student Inspired Idea

Forgive my neglectful blogging lately - I'm currently dealing with lots of semester-end stress and I am more than a little swamped. However, please rest assure that come May 1st, there will be lots of new blogging material to read, and some fun printables! WooHoo! Meanwhile, I shared this brilliant idea I had (well, maybe not brilliant, but I was pretty pleased with myself) on the Faber Piano Adventures Forums the other day, and thought that it might be of use to some of you, too!

First, some background: right now I am currently teaching one of my four (almost five) year old students to read notes on the staff. We've been working our way through the note names on the staffs - but not using any books, simply activities. Here's the breakdown of how I taught her the space notes of the treble clef over the course of three weeks:

The first week, we cut strips of paper and glued them down on a sheet of paper to make a staff-  then we labeled all the notes. This particular student enjoyed getting to color and decorate her poster. Whatever works!

The next step was a stroke of sheer luck, and I can't take all of the credit for it, as my student was starving, but I didn't want to waste lesson time giving her a snack. Note: Normally I don't feed children during their lessons, but this student comes right after dance class (therefore she's pretty hungry) and I babysit her on a more than regular basis, so I made an exception!

Anyway, what did we do? We wrote the notes on my whiteboard staff as a reference and we used pretzels to make a staff and chocolate cheerios for the notes. She had to name the notes before eating the cheerios.

Then, the following week, we used the same pretzel and cheerio activity but, as we played the game, I erased one note name from the white board at a time until she could name every single note. 

It worked like a charm! She now knows all of the spaces of the treble clef, and so now we'll start with the lines at her next lesson!

Has anybody else ever created an activity for a student on a whim?


tdow said...

Love your ideas. I'm sure she was completely thrilled - so much better than black and white flashcards!

I have a fun one for teaching note value. I purchased a scrapbook supply organizer (a plastic box that is compartmentalized). I give my students some colourful beads. They listen to me play notes of varying length to the tick of a metronome and place the corresponding number of beads in a compartment (one bead for one beat, three beads for three beats etc.). You can also hold up a picture of a dotted half note etc. and have them place the correct number of beads into the box. After the box is full, we go through, count the beads and then draw the corresponding note. They LOVE things that are kinesthetic.

Suzan Pleva said...

These are amazing ideas! I will be using them in the future! I love hearing these ideas. I really like the idea of the cheerios!

Suzan Pleva
Melody Piano

Jonathan said...

As tdow said, kinesthetic learning is powerful, especially for younger kids. Once I had a 5-year old boy who consistently played a melody incorrectly until I put five sheets of white paper on the floor (representing C-G). He got to jump from one 'key' to the other in the order of the melody pitches, and it helped him remember the correct pattern.

Ann said...

How wonderful ! I have been searching and searching for some blogs about teaching music! So interesting. Thankyou.