Key Identification Game

Wow, I am a slacker!  All this teaching at school and working through some issues with my children has taken a huge toll on my creativity and blog time.  I took these pictures back in October, and decided it was high time to get them uploaded.

My son, The Rock, was working on identifying key names at the time.  Now, this child’s favorite toys are cowboy and indian plastic figures.  He will play for hours with those little plastic men, so I devised a way cool (in his mind) game for piano.

First, we started off with our men.  The Rock decided to be the green army man, and placed his guy at the top of the top of the keyboard.  I was assigned the blue cowboy, and my guy started out at the bottom of the keyboard. 

Then, The Rock drew a card, and moved his man to the appropirate key.  I did the same, and we kept going along like that.  Our goal was to get our little man to the opposite end of the keyboard first.

My son, of course, won.  Funny how I never seem to win a game.  You’d think I stacked the deck, or “accidentally” let him have two turns in a row every now and again.  Oh, well. ;)

You can make cards with the letter names easily enough, or you can use my Musical Alphabet Cards.  You will want to pring up several sets of the cards for this game – I’d suggest at least 5.  This game can be modified to include sharps and flats, tones of a particular scale, or whatever you can come up with.  Have fun.  My son and I sure did.

Orange Julius Musical Recipe

This is an activity that I have done quite a few times with general music classes.  It would also be fun for a group piano lesson.  Students name notes to decode the Orange Julius Recipe.  After they have it figured out, we simply dump the ingredients into a blender, mix ‘em up, and enjoy.  I sometimes review various tempi when turning the blender from lower to higher speeds.  Students love this activity, and I have to admit, I do, too!

Orange Julius

Keyboard Three-in-a Row Game

So, you’ve met The Rock, my darling bespeceled boy on the right.  Next to him is his equally darling brother, who I will call Dash.  Why Dash, you ask?  Well, this child never sits still.  Ever.  Bless his poor school teacher’s heart.  Dash is always on the move – running, jumping, flipping, bouncing,… well, you get the idea.  He is something else in his gymnastics class –  he is just amazing to watch.

Dash loves music.  I  keep his lessons short but frequent.  One of the luxuries of teaching your own child, I suppose.  I assign him 2 pieces at a time.  When he has these down, I teach him another two.  He is bright, and catches on quick.

IMG_1350As a reward for keeping focused, Dash got to play a game with his brother.  The object of the game is to get 3 markers of your color in a row.  I got this game from The Big Book of Music Games, but you could easily adapt it with a keyboard chart and an alphabet spinner of some sort.  The boys took turns spinning the spinner, and putting a marker on the keyboard note.  Luckily, the game ended in a tie, so both Dash and The Rock walked away happy.

Musical Alphabet Game

This is my son, whom I will refer to as The Rock.  He is strong and solid in body and mind.  He is also a wonderful cuddle-bug, but at 7 years old, I didn’t think he would appreciate that nickname as much.

Alphabet Blocks

This week, The Rock is working on the musical alphabet.  We played a little game with the wooden alphabet blocks that I made.  You can print some out of paper here

The Rock put the blocks in order as fast as he could.  Then, to make things a bit harder, he had to start on letters other than A.  He loved it, and it was a great way to give him a little bit of wiggle time that little boys so often need.

To Everything There is a Season

I love teaching piano.  A lot.  I love it more than any other job I’ve had, except being a mom.  We waited quite awhile for our children to come to our family.  After 5 1/2 years of marriage, we adoped a beautiful baby girl.  When she was 4 years old, we brought home an 18 month old son.  Ten months later, we brought home another son who was almost 2.  Seven months later, we brought home a 7 month old daughter. 

It was quite a time for us.  We went from one child to 4 in just under a year and a half.  Each child brought many blessings, but also unique challenges.  Piano gave me something else to think about during the 20 or so daily diaper changes, bottles, and the endless mischief and destruction that my boys always seemed to be in to.  The few hours in the afternoon that I spent teaching piano were a welcome reprieve from the chaos that seemed to rule my life. 

The Family, when the children were 7, 4, 4, and 2

The Family, when the children were 7, 4, 4, and 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I couldn’t imagine a time that I wouldn’t want to teach piano.  Until now, that is.  My mischievous boys are in second grade this year, and my baby is in Kindergarten.  My oldest is in 5th grade.  I was blessed to land a part-time teaching job in our school district.  It’s wonderful.  I can teach when they are at school, and we can be together in the afternoons.  I went from 21 students taking 45 minute lessons last year down to a mere 3 students this year.  Now, I have time to do homework, talk after school, and simply spend time with my children.  I cherish this time, and am so thankful for it.  I have all the time in the world to be a piano teacher, but this is the only time that my children will be young, and I want to be with them as much as I can.

The other wonderful thing about this whole arrangement is that I finally have time to teach my 3 little ones piano.  We all know how hard it can be teaching your own children, but I am going to do all that I can to make it work.  To this end, it is my goal to post at least weekly about various activities and such that I do with my children during their lessons.  Since they are mine, they can have more than one lesson a week, and I can pull out many of the wonderful resources that I sometimes don’t get to use.  We are having a great time, and my little ones are pretty excited to be mommy’s piano students, too.  They have waited for this for a long time, and I am glad that I can accomodate their wishes.

Pre-Reading LDS Primary Songs

Have you seen all of Susan’s wonderful pre-reading songs?  I have used these with so many students, and they have all been well-loved.  Following in her example, I have done up some LDS children’s Primary songs into a pre-reading format.  I have versions with finger numbers and letter names.  So far I only done 8 songs, but hopefully that number will continue to grow. 

I have new respect for Susan.  They are sure time consuming, especially when you add all of the wonderful graphics and color that she does.

Jesus Said Love Everyone

LDS Primary Songs – Pre-reading format

“Piano is Fun” Computer Game Chart

Since so many students are naturally competitive, I made a chart to track their progress on the Piano is Fun note naming game.  Students are not competing against anyone, but it sure does motivate them to do the lessons so they can get a sticker on the square.  This chart will print on 2 pages of paper, and I just trimmed and taped them together.

Piano is Fun Chart

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