Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my students, their families, and my readers!  I am truly thankful for the chance to share my love of music with over 30 students.  I look forward to each lesson, and I am blessed to have the best job ever!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Little Ring

Many of the students at Lewis Music Studio are five years old or under.  This is great because they have so much potential for an entire childhood of music.  I have noticed, however, that many children under five get confused between their right and left hands.  They may be able to name them (and we do fun games to help), but when it comes time to play, they often want to automatically switch from the hand we decided on to their dominant hand.  I have come up with a fun and simple way to help with this problem- rings!  A little box of rings that the students can use to mark which hand (or even finger) we are currently using is a fun reminder.

This tip is not only for educators, parents can also save little rings that always seem to be around to help their little one practice with the correct hand at home too.  So start gathering rings, and let's make music!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Welcome Rhythm of the Home Readers!

Welcome to readers stopping by from Rhythm of the Home!  It's so nice to have you.

I love making connections with those who share similar interests, so I hope that you'll follow and then comment so that I can follow you back.   My site includes fun musical activities and projects that you can have fun introducing to your family!

I want to suggest some other posts that I think you might like:
 If you haven't read my Rhythm of the Home article, Across the Generations: Fostering Inter-generational Relationships, please check it out!

Monday, February 25, 2013

New Instruments

A new bell

Trying out the new instruments

A froggy woodblock

Trying out the instruments and the tunnels during the "Peek- a- Boo" song.
This week was a fun week- new instruments to try.  I also brought the tunnels for the babies and toddlers to use during the "Peek- a-Boo" song.  Every student was very engaged, and that's a success!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Meet My Friends...

I am happy to introduce you to my friends.  They love to bring smiles to small faces, and they each teach something about music too!

 Polar Bear teaches us about LOUD sounds.
 Little Froggy teaches us about SHORT sounds.
BooBoo Snake teaches us about LONG sounds, and Boston Duck teaches us about QUIET sounds.

I use these little friends with toddlers and preschoolers when introducing these concepts, and we reinforce the concepts and teach aural awareness with them as well.

My favorite activity is to choose either short/long or loud/soft, and place the two animals in the middle of the circle of kids.  (Have them sit on the floor.) First we go over which animal goes with which concept.  For the polar bear we all give a loud "ROAR," and for the duckling, we quietly "peep."

Next, I play something fun on the piano that clearly demonstrates one of the two concepts, and the children touch the animal that the music demonstrates.  If they are not in agreement, I play the piece again and give the correct answer.

The children love physically touching the animals, and they really feel like they are part of the process when they have a manipulative to interact with.  Plus, many small children love small animals, so they can connect with the concepts through their interest in the stuffed animals.

What do you do to teach soft and loud and long and short sounds?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Hens and Roosters

 This is a fun activity that we do to learn musical expression, and appreciation for classical music.  The song is Hens and Roosters from Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saens.  It's abrupt sounds imitate chickens running, pecking, jumping, and flying.  I encourage the children to make our chickens move on the parachute while they listen to the piece. They love to shake and pop the chickens in the air with the parachute, and often many or all of them fly off, and we put them back on. This is great fun, and they often request to do it two or three times. 

 Sometimes a little someone gets to go for a ride as well!
When we are finished, most of the students have difficulty with being done, so I keep a small container which is the "Chickie's Hen House."  I ask the students to put the chickies in the hen house for me.  I allow one student to hold the "House" while the other students scramble to pick up the pom poms.  We now are ready to move onto our next song in seconds!

Please feel free to try this activity  at home or in your own music class.  If you are at home, use a large scarf or tablecloth instead of a parachute.  The piece of music is embedded below with explanation. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

In Their Notebooks: Finger Tracing

I don't require my earliest beginners in the Intro to Piano Class to have the lesson books.  Instead, the students who do not have the writing book do a similar activity in  a small notebook.  This past week, the students traced their hands and labeled the finger numbers.  I wrote the numbers that they did not know how to write. 

Intro to Piano Notebooks

Intro to Piano Notebooks

Intro to Piano Notebooks

Intro to Piano Notebooks

Before class, I always lay the notebooks out with a pencil for each student.  They are always excited to find out what we are doing with the notebooks that day.  The stickers on the front page get added each time they do an echo clap activity. 

Try this with your own group class- Simply purchase or make notebooks for each student and use them each week for stickers, drawings, and activities.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Musical Picture Books

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Music is everywhere, and picture books are no exception. Some portray a popular children's song while others tell a story about music, but all are sure to please! 

Hush, Little Baby: A Folk Song with Pictures- For the very youngest listeners, Hush Little Baby is perfect.  As the little one grows older, they will enjoy pointing out and giggling at the silly scenarios.

If You're Happy and You Know It (Raffi Songs to Read)-  What child doesn't like to get to shout "Horray!" at the top of their lungs.  Even if you aren't happy, this book will help you to smile.

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes- A sweet book with adorable pictures for such a classic childhood favorite.

Chirchir Is Singing- This is an adorable story that brings a multicultural musical element to story-time.

Mary and Her Little Lamb-  Will Moses beautifully narrates and illustrates the TRUE story of "Mary Had  a Little Lamb."  The kids will love the details behind one of the most famous childhood songs in America.

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb- This book is all about rhythm.  The story tells about monkeys playing the drum, but the reading of the book mimics a drum with its rhythmic cadence and nonsense words. 

Boom Bah!- This lively book will make you family want to do a little parade of your own right here and now!

The Farmer in the Dell- A beautiful illustration of the beloved childhood classic. 

Chuck's Band- This book is all about the barnyard becoming musical, but you will howl when you find out what the cat does!

Lullaby Raft- A wonderful way to lay your sweet ones down to bed.

Rhinoceros Tap: 15 Seriously Silly Songs (Book & CD)- At my house, we LOVE Sandra Boynton books, and it's a huge bonus that this one even comes with a CD to help you sing some silly song fun!

So bring out the books, and bring out some instruments too!  Books are a great way to incorporate a love for music into your child's day.