Wednesday, December 31, 2014

LABYRINTH - Terminology Style!

Labyrinth is a fun game all in itself, but imagine a terminology version!  Well, that's what we did!

In Labyrinth you race to search for treasure  within a twisting maze.  A little adjusting and this game was ready to play! If you want to try your hand at it, grab a sharpie or two, some stickable labels and scissors!

I cut address labels in thirds and covered each of the pictures on the game board and game pieces.   I chose 24 terms I wanted to drill with my students and drew them on the labels.

Then I placed labels on the game cards - again covering the picture on the card and then wrote the name of the term on the cards.  This way students need to match up the name of the term with the picture of the term.

That's it!

The game is then played like the instructions tell you!  The nice thing about this game is that you can tailor it to the time you have available.  Use all 24 cards (it takes about 30 minutes so it would be great for a station at a group lesson) or choose a few and limit the time.

I played the game recently with several of my students and they LOVED it!  It was a great, FUN way to review musical terminology!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!  I am so thankful for all of you who support my blog and have offered so many words of encouragement.  I hope you have a wonderful day with your family and friends!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

We're Getting Ready!

Our upcoming Christmas recital is just around the corner, so we've been working hard on lots of music!  Each student participating will play one seasonal piece and one non-seasonal.  I try to incorporate collaborative playing in each of my recitals so several of my students will be playing duets together.  I also arranged a couple of group events so here's a quick look at what we're doing...

Four girls in my studio will be playing the bells! This is easy enough to do by simply picking a piano duet.  In this case, it was a student primo with a teacher secondo which means the primo is much simpler.  I grabbed my handbells and made a few adjustments in the music and it sounds BEAUTIFUL!  The girls are so excited to play together.  I made this work by choosing 2 girls who have lessons back-to-back and are on the same level.  They practice together each week, carefully counting when they do not have notes in a given measure.  Of course it helps that I sing along as well!  The other 2 girls are homeschoolers so I will be getting every one together right after the week of Thanksgiving.

Four boys in the studio will be playing the cups! Thanks to Wendy Stevens, we have a fun version of "We Three Kings"!  One of them will be playing the piano part while the other 3 will be using cups.  To practice it, I either play the piano part or a cup to work with each student during their lessons until we can get together.

The boys are having a BLAST with this one so it should bring loads of smiles to the recital!

Are you doing something unique?  I would love to hear some of the creative ideas you are using this Christmas!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I "Mustache" You a Question!

Last week, we had our first group lesson of the new year.  I entitled it "I Mustache You a Question".  I started out by writing that very question on a white board and posting it in the center of the studio on a stand.
 There was immediate curiosity!  But I saved the question for later in the lesson.

The first game we played was our Jumbo Shut the Box!  Shut the Box is a favorite game in our studio and when I made it a jumbo game, it became an immediate hit!  The directions are the same as the original game described in a previous post here.  I made jumbo musical dice out of boxes and duct tape (instructions found here.).

A laminated game board, 2 dice per team and a whiteboard marker is all you need!
Fun, fun, fun!

After drilling them on note values, we went inside, had a snack and went to work on our note identification!  I used a bit of a different twist just for fun.  I set up the Apple TV in the studio, used flashcards and my iPad.  Instant hit!!  I simply divided them up in teams - in our case, girls against boys - and showed each member a flashcard.  If they could name the note correctly, they were able to add a "part" to Mr. or Mrs. Potato Head - a very fun app on the iPad.

As you can see...they got a bit silly with it! Arms in eye holes, noses in ear holes, etc.  All the more fun though!

I wanted this group lesson to focus on practicing habits and strategies so I changed up our game, "You've Been 'Stached" to ask them practice-type questions.  You can find the directions to this game here.  For this game, I changed it up and assigned the colors as follows:

PURPLE - Name an excuse as to why you don't practice!

ORANGE - Give an idea that helps you practice!

GREEN - Name a strategy that helps you polish a piece!

This game was a hit and we sure some great discussions about practicing!

I had purchased "My Practice Stache" from Melody Payne.  You can find it here.  It is a fabulous set of tips to use while practicing.  Using her ideas, I put together a set of my own for my studio kids using 20 tips (the original set comes with 52) as a start.  I gave each student one of these at the end of the lesson along with a die to go with 2 of the tips and a challenge for them to use them throughout the week.  This great resource is available in her store and is currently on sale!

Oh and the question??!!  At the very end, I said, "I mustache you a question!"  When they yelled, "What?", I said "Did you have fun today!"  A resounding "Yes!" was yelled back!

Friday, September 12, 2014

A look Inside My Studio This Year

After I finished two camps and a bunch of lessons in July, my studio was closed for the month of August.  While I try to take a week or so to relax, it wasn't to happen this year.  We completely renovated our living room taking it down to the studs, adding more lighting, outlets and fixing the baseboard heating before we added a new ceiling, walls and even pointed our fireplace.  It was a huge job that my husband and I did together.  I'm thrilled with the results but it also meant that I was a bit behind on getting started for the new year.  I rallied though and worked through our new incentive program and getting the studio ready.  I made quite a few changes to the studio as well as some of the equipment I now use so I thought I would share what's happening in our music world!

I installed a TV on the wall which is now hooked up to my digital piano.  I also added Apple TV to use with my iPad.  Seriously LOVE this feature!!!
(And there's a bit of a peak at some of the decor for the incentive program!).  I also broke down and bought a 2nd iPad.  Lots of new apps are bringing loads of smiles!

I purchased a couple more white cube drawers so that my games are all neatly organized!

I also added a second bookcase and a small matching file cabinet to hold printer supplies and student files.  Here's a look at one side of the studio.
I put a portion of our music library in these files, labeled by type, making it easier to find what I'm looking for than what I was using before.  The bulk of my music library is in a large cupboard.

And here's the other side of the studio.  We moved the piano over which seems to have given us a lot more space.  The cabinet in the corner has some games in file boxes on the top and loads of office-type supplies inside.

And here's the cupboard which holds loads of music and has games on top.  The drawer cupboard to the left of the cabinet holds all my camp paper supplies.

Right now, it's working great for me.  It always seems like there isn't enough room for everything, but I've managed to fit quite a bit in my space.  I'm happy and the kids were real excited to see all the changes!

I hope you are all enjoying a great start to your year!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Marooned on Musician's Island!

I finishing up what will become our new practice incentive this year..."Maroon on Musician's Island!".  This is a super fun program designed to have the kids work on their own AND with a group of other students.  I'm very excited about it and hope to have all the details ready for you shortly!

So stayed tuned...

Friday, August 8, 2014

Music Apps

My current iPad is a 1st generation!  Shocking I know.  In fact, I bought it almost 5 years ago when the 2nd generation came out so proud that I was saving money!  I had no idea what I was doing, but I've made it work, albeit limited over the last few years.  Sadly, I can't take advantage of the most current and fabulous apps out there with this operating system so I finally purchased a new one last night.  I'm eagerly looking forward to it's arrival (but not the credit card bill that will come next month)!  Part of the price of doing business!

In any case, I wanted to alert you to a fabulous list put together by Jennifer Foxx on her studio blog, Foxx Piano Studio Resources!  She has done a fabulous job of putting together a great list of apps and also categorizing them to make it easy to search for just what you need.  You can find the list here.

While you're there, take a look at her great blog and drool at her amazing computer lab!

Thanks, Jennifer!!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Rhythm Dash!

Here's a fun game we used in the studio this summer.  It quickly became a favorite!
Who can be the first team or player to get 5 in a row and win?  This is a game that reviews note values in a fun, interactive way!

To play, you need a game board(directions below), the game cards (found here) and chips or game pieces for each team or player.

This is how we played the game - I put 4 teams together (one team of leaders!) and placed all the cards facedown on the floor a distance away.  Players took turns running down to select a card and to determine the amount of beats on the card they chose.  Once they determined the number of beats, then they had to decide where to place their team chip to either try and get their own 5-in-a-row OR to place it in a way that would block another team that may be close to winning.

Here's a look at the cards.  The game board uses numbers 3-12 (10 of each) so there are 10 cards with 3 beats, 10 cards with 4 beats, 10 cards with 5 beats, etc.  So 100 rhythm cards, PLUS cards that say, "Bump an Opponent!" and "Wild Card!".   You can print as many of these extra cards as you want.

If a player selects a "Bump an Opponent!" card, it enables him to remove a chip from an opposing team or player.  This helps to stop them from getting 5-in-a-row, or removes a chip that an opposing team placed earlier that was meant to stop you from getting 5-in-a-row.  You can decide if you want them to be able to place their own chip in it's place or just leave it blank.  A "Wild Card!" allows players to place a chip anywhere they want on the board.

To make a larger game board, you can simply use a poster board or foam board and draw a grid 10 x 10 which will give you 100 squares.  In each square randomly write in numbers 3-12 using 10 of each number.

If you prefer something more compact or without the extra work, you can print a smaller version here.  I made it without color for a bit of savings so I would suggest printing it on a colored piece of cardstock.

That's it!  You're now ready to play!

I hope you enjoy using this game with your students!  If you're a elementary school teacher, this would be a great day for your 100th day of school!

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Look at a Notable Summer!

Once the school year ends, my studio starts what I call, Summer Flex.  All my students have the option to attend one of my summer camps or to have 2 "double" lessons in July.  The studio is closed in August.  This year I ran two camps, A Composition Camp and a camp I called, "GAMES, GAMES, GAMES!".  I wanted (NEEDED) a bit of a simpler summer this year so I put these two camps together and they were certainly much easier than in years past.  Here's a look at what we did:

These 7 adorable girls started out the summer in my composition camp.  In addition to working through learning to write our their own songs, we played some games, worked on our rhythm and just plain had a really fun time!

Happy Campers!

Great Compositions!

Our second week of camp was all about games!  My students constantly asked to play games during lessons so I pulled out a bunch of their favorites, made a few new ones and ended the week with two days I called, Crazy Carnival!  Here's a look:

17 Campers (not all pictured!), 5 teen leaders and loads of carnival games!

Silly, silly fun!

Kerplunk!  Note value style!
A teen clown!
Rhythm races!
Terminology, with a water twist!

Loads of musical learning!

All in all?  Two fantastic weeks!  How's your summer going?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Jumbo Musical Dice

Like many of you, I'm working hard on my summer plans.  Up here in the Northeast, schools in our area are just finishing up next week so our summer is just getting started.  I'll be running two camps this summer - a composition camp and a fun camp entitled, GAMES, GAMES, GAMES!!  As you can imagine, a week of games is really popular.

I'm getting all the plans together, gathering supplies and of course, making a bunch of stuff!  I'll be sharing them as they are completed.  So for today, here's a quick look at one thing I put together after being inspired by something I saw on Pinterest.

This is a 6"x6"x6" box I purchased for about $1.00 because I couldn't find one free!  I taped it shut with mailing tape and then began to cover it with duct tape.  I started with the edges and then covered all the sides.  

Then I added some musical notation with a black sharpie...

The end result?
4 Jumbo Musical Dice ready for camp this summer!  Oh...and my helper?  That's my beautiful, 2-year-old granddaughter and future pianist!