EASTER GROUP CLASS
What I enjoy most about group classes is watching and listening to private piano students interact socially. It’s also beneficial to place pupils in a situation where they can talk about the theoretical music knowledge they would generally write down.
Next to totally rearranging my teaching space (and finding enough chairs – this year I splurged and bought a dozen new comfy folding black seats), the most challenging aspect of setting up end of term workshops is convincing parents and older students that it is worth the effort to attend on a day other than lesson day – and to remind them that just because something is fun and free doesn’t mean it isn’t educational or not worth the extra time and travel. Last week I held three one hour group sessions – two based on elementary and intermediate theory levels and a third for older teens/adults of mixed levels. Nine students attended each of the first two sessions and two adults plus two teens came to the third session.
I like to have some kind of an icebreaker as students arrive, such as this post-it note idea. Students were asked to write down a word (or two or three?) that comes to mind when they think of music. I particularly enjoyed the responses ‘like’ from a 6 year old and ‘expression of the soul’ from a 12 year old. Other answers included song titles, Italian terms and signs, instrument names or drawings and adjectives such as happy, lovely and wonderful. Sticky notes were then placed in a bucket for a lucky draw to win bouncing putty or chocolates.
Bunny and egg decorations for inspiration, the colour scheme this year – green and lilac! Most years I place questions inside the plastic eggs however this year I left a basket of eggs on the table as a kind of sensory play during question time and as predicted students played with the eggs while waiting for their turn to speak – opening them, sorting them, swapping colours top and bottom
and filling them with these tiny eggs.
Milk bottle caps are never thrown away in this house! Thanks to http://thepluckypianista.blogspot.com.au/for the great letter insert printables. Students chose two different letters and had to recite the music alphabet from memory – forwards from one letter and backwards from the other….
Thanks to http://colorinmypiano.com/wp-content/files/Rhythm_Value_Posters.pdf for the large note posters. After reviewing note names and beats with the posters, students clapped along in different rhythms to Julian Lennon’s ‘Too Late For Goodbyes’ (excellent beat, not too many words and most importantly no inappropriate words) followed by tapping right hand crotchets (quarter notes) against left hand minims (half notes), right hand semibreves (whole notes) with left hand crotchets etc on the table top.
Group class presents a good opportunity for introducing or revising signs and terms not often seen during piano lessons, giving us the chance to discuss the history of notation and clefs and providing a prompt for learning a little about the stringed instruments of the symphony orchestra. Why is a ‘semi’ breve a whole note? What instrument uses the alto clef? Music symbol flash cards resource from http://www.mtrs.co.uk/
Theory revision time – using small plastic ‘wheelie’ bins filled with typed music questions grouped into grades Preliminary to Four.
Students could answer the question they drew out or choose someone else to answer for them. After each question students assisted in the organization of later sessions by placing papers in the correct tubs ready for emptying back into the bins. I was pleased when many students begged if they could “pleeeeze” have one more turn at choosing and answering. I was delighted with the brilliant and confident responses from many, the determination of others wanting to be allowed a bit more time to come up with an answer and the willingness of students to help one another. Everyone was involved and definitely wearing their imaginary thinking caps!
Another activity – the flowerpot drum
for tapping rhythms….
Thanks to http://www.susanparadis.com/catalog.php?ID=SP293 for the Easter Egg colouring worksheet to keep younger fingers busy during question time
Almost home time. Though I normally put together some kind of take home party favour gift, this year I couldn’t resist these ready made jelly bean hunting eggs in bright colours, especially as I now have a student who cannot eat chocolate. Oops…I also have a student who doesn’t like jelly beans!
Presents for the teacher!
I received this special gift from a lovely student and her creative Mum
and another very special and unique gift – quail eggs
“Thankyou” to the students who participated in our end of term Easter workshops.
You were all ‘Eggcellent’!
(‘John Sands’ greeting card image)