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#1243883 - 08/05/09 10:18 AM Things to do to fill up leftover lesson time?
toejamfutbol Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/04/09
Posts: 124
Loc: MI
Occasionally I will give a lesson and have some leftover time after we have gone through seemingly everything we wanted to accomplish that day.

Does anyone have any suggestions for quick educational games or activities to fill up the rest of the lesson? I have flash cards that I like to use sometimes but that's about it.
_________________________
"Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured and far away." -Thoreau

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#1243953 - 08/05/09 11:19 AM Re: Things to do to fill up leftover lesson time? [Re: toejamfutbol]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5422
Loc: Orange County, CA
Wow, I wish I have that problem...

Why not teach more pieces?

Theory worksheets? They can be made pretty easily and you can make all the copies you wish. There are also certain pages that are reproducible from various publishers.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1243955 - 08/05/09 11:22 AM Re: Things to do to fill up leftover lesson time? [Re: toejamfutbol]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
I almost always give verbal quizzes. With the young ones, or newly beginning, I will have them point to something and then I will tell them what it is, then they have to tell me if I got it right or not. (notes, dynamic markings, ledger lines etc...)

For the older and more experienced I make it harder by pointing to something and they have to tell not only what it is, but also what it does.

I got a cool stick (at a teacher supply store) with a pointer finger on the end of it and the kids really like to play teacher with it smile
_________________________
It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1243972 - 08/05/09 11:41 AM Re: Things to do to fill up leftover lesson time? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
toejamfutbol Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/04/09
Posts: 124
Loc: MI
The verbal quizzes you are describing sound a lot like the flash cards I use. I go through them and the students have to identify the symbol and also tell me what it means. Your method is a nice variety, though. I'm always looking for new ways to help them remember important symbols and such.
_________________________
"Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured and far away." -Thoreau

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#1243975 - 08/05/09 11:45 AM Re: Things to do to fill up leftover lesson time? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4977
Loc: boston north
Ah...

So much that one can do...

Quick and easy for beginners is to play tic tac toe. You make 3 up. Fill in the box with something they should know, then play by naming what is in the box for the x or the o. One one dynamics, one on notation, one on notes. Then let them make up 1,2, or 3 for homework which you will play the following week.

Ear training.

Sight reading skills.

Musical Question and answers. You play C D E F G for a question (sounds unfinished) They will make up the answer. Obvious ones would be G F E D C or C D E F C. Teach them a little about this before doing the game. For instance - answers sound finished and often end in C; often copy/mimic/reverse the question.

More:
CC DD EE F
CDEDEFG
CC EE GG G

Have them copy clapping rhythms. Use hands, feet tapping, knee slapping.

Students usually look forward to these little fillers, and they do still teach music!
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#1243976 - 08/05/09 11:46 AM Re: Things to do to fill up leftover lesson time? [Re: lilylady]
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4977
Loc: boston north
Oh, and playing teacher always is a winner! And they learn to organize, verbalize and need to know what they are talking about to do so.

Great teaching tool.
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#1243988 - 08/05/09 11:59 AM Re: Things to do to fill up leftover lesson time? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5422
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Ebony and Ivory
I got a cool stick (at a teacher supply store) with a pointer finger on the end of it and the kids really like to play teacher with it smile

Oh, you teacher, you!!!
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1244094 - 08/05/09 02:47 PM Re: Things to do to fill up leftover lesson time? [Re: AZNpiano]
EDWARDIAN Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 89
Loc: New York, USA
For my younger students I use the note spelling game. They really love it - so much so that many ask to do it as a regular end of lesson activity.

There are note spelling books out there, but I prefer to just use their own lesson notebooks. Naturally they learn the treble spaces are FACE, and then line notes can be Elvis' Guitar Broke Down Friday or one of the others. Or they can make up their own phrase. Then I write a staff and spell out a word in notes which they turn into the letter names. After treble, same deal for the bass. When both staves are thoroughly learned, I write a word in treble (or bass) notes then they write it in letters, and then in bass (or treble) notes. Then they play the "words" making sure they are in the proper octave.

They really learn their notes this way because it's fun and they are actively engaged.

For my older students, I generally introduce a new piece for fun, one of their favorites. Something they always wanted to play as long as it's achievable.

Joan
_________________________
Joan Edward

Private piano teacher, 20+ years
EDWARDIAN45@hotmail.com

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#1244169 - 08/05/09 05:10 PM Re: Things to do to fill up leftover lesson time? [Re: toejamfutbol]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7311
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: toejamfutbol
Occasionally I will give a lesson and have some leftover time after we have gone through seemingly everything we wanted to accomplish that day.

Does anyone have any suggestions for quick educational games or activities to fill up the rest of the lesson? I have flash cards that I like to use sometimes but that's about it.


Do your students maintain repertoire? If they do, this is the perfect time to review and polish.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1244175 - 08/05/09 05:22 PM Re: Things to do to fill up leftover lesson time? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
Sight reading! Especially duets. smile
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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#1244176 - 08/05/09 05:23 PM Re: Things to do to fill up leftover lesson time? [Re: Minniemay]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
My teacher often has me improvise on anything I like — or sightread something.
_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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#1244239 - 08/05/09 07:28 PM Re: Things to do to fill up leftover lesson time? [Re: Horowitzian]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5903
Loc: Down Under
Sight reading duets gets my thumbs-up as well.
Aural training games! Too many ideas to list - your only problem would be choosing!
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#1244375 - 08/05/09 11:18 PM Re: Things to do to fill up leftover lesson time? [Re: currawong]
beccaY Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/09
Posts: 23
For younger students I play a note naming game on the keys. I use multicolored, plastic jewels that are flat on one side. I have the student turn around so they can't see the keys. I place any number of jewels on the keys. When the student turns around they point to each one saying the note as I time it. We do it a few times in a row each time trying to beat their own time/

For the older students I have a card game called Measure Up. It's very easy to learn and takes no time to get it out and ready to play. You have to make measures with the correct time signatures and notes. It has 4 different time signatures mixed in, but but sometimes I take out the 6/8 notes just because we have not covered it yet.

Those are the favorite two things I do with my students.

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#1244389 - 08/06/09 12:14 AM Re: Things to do to fill up leftover lesson time? [Re: currawong]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Originally Posted By: currawong
Sight reading duets gets my thumbs-up as well.
[...]


We do that too! But with all the tough rep I'm working on even a 45 minute lesson has only a few minutes extra time anymore.
_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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#1244427 - 08/06/09 01:55 AM Re: Things to do to fill up leftover lesson time? [Re: Horowitzian]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5422
Loc: Orange County, CA
This thread bothers me. As a teacher in a public school, I have to teach "bell to bell." There can't be any free time, or else the class will go nuts. Instruction must be planned to fill the entire period. Much better to over-plan than to under-plan. When you keep the kids busy, they stay out of trouble.

For piano lessons, I don't always plan ahead, but I often find myself in the middle of explaining something when the next student arrives. There just isn't enough time to cover everything.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1244524 - 08/06/09 07:47 AM Re: Things to do to fill up leftover lesson time? [Re: AZNpiano]
TXPianoTeacher Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/17/09
Posts: 9
Loc: Texas
I agree you have to be prepared, but sometimes I think we all need help putting a few more tricks and games in our arsenal. I have gotten so many good ideas off of this thread, like the tic-tac-toe and the jewels on the keys. smile

Some things I do: Read a little about a composer and play a recording of one of their songs while the kids work on a game or puzzle related to that composer.

Play "memory" with a well-known song. You play one note, they play it, you play two notes, they play those two, etc....until they can't remember the pattern anymore.

Have colorful pictures of things: a rainy day, a king, a sad face, a happy face, etc. Set them all out on the floor and then play something that should remind them of one of the pictures. See if they can guess what picture you were playing. Then see if they can make up their own song for it. They have lots of fun with that.

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#1244528 - 08/06/09 07:54 AM Re: Things to do to fill up leftover lesson time? [Re: AZNpiano]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
I also keep flashcards on hand, which my students beg to do (they get stickers for getting 10 right!) I also keep a basket of rhythm instruments next to the piano, and they will sightread rhythm only from random pieces I pull out. Maracas are the favorite. I have a metronome named Shirley Tempo, and they like to practice technique exercises with Shirley. And I keep a couple line-a-day sightreading books nearby - another sticker for reading it correctly.

(Stickers add up to bigger rewards. I guess I should mention that I only teach beginners. These things wouldn't work as well on more advanced students.)


Edited by Lollipop (08/06/09 07:55 AM)
_________________________
piano teacher

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#1244545 - 08/06/09 08:41 AM Re: Things to do to fill up leftover lesson time? [Re: Lollipop]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
The trouble with flashcards is that they don't show context. A child might know that the flash card is showing 3/4 time and they can tell you everything that 3/4 means, but then they don't know where to find 3/4 on the page.

I find it's better for them to see things on the score so they know where they might run into it. Some things are found all over the page (dynamics, staccatos etc...) but other things are usually in the same place (speed, key signature etc...) Just my two cents wink
_________________________
It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1244637 - 08/06/09 11:04 AM Re: Things to do to fill up leftover lesson time? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
Good point. My flashcards are homemade, cut out from copies of music and glued to index cards. So they are the "real thing" - in context to a certain extent. I color code them according to level, so that kids are being quizzed only on things they should already know.

But that reminds me - another thing I do when students are first learning notes is to take a piece of advanced music, and ask the student to "find me a middle C" (or a third, or a slur, or .....) The students seem excited to find out that there are parts of that complicated music that they already know.
_________________________
piano teacher

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#1244714 - 08/06/09 12:35 PM Re: Things to do to fill up leftover lesson time? [Re: Lollipop]
aEquals440 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 47
Loc: Richmond, VA
I remember that one of my teachers would always have sightread some very beautiful pieces that had a vocal or singing quality for expression. He would also sightread easy duets with me. It was a lot of fun. smile
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www.PianoStuff.com ~~ T-Shirts and Gifts for Pianists!

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#1244955 - 08/06/09 06:55 PM Re: Things to do to fill up leftover lesson time? [Re: Minniemay]
musiclady Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/19/05
Posts: 431
Loc: Toronto, Canada
I usually run out of time before I cover everything (even had this problem when I first started teaching), doing ear training, flashcards (including those they have to sight-read and play the chords or notes, like the Faber flashcards do), music games (some bought, others I made myself), theory, composing, recording, (on audio and/or video)and duets/ensembles. And I rarely teach less than a 45 min lesson.

Meri
_________________________
Clarinet and Piano Teacher based out of Toronto, Canada.Web: http://donmillsmusicstudio.weebly.com

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#1245089 - 08/06/09 09:49 PM Re: Things to do to fill up leftover lesson time? [Re: Lollipop]
toejamfutbol Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/04/09
Posts: 124
Loc: MI
Originally Posted By: Lollipop


But that reminds me - another thing I do when students are first learning notes is to take a piece of advanced music, and ask the student to "find me a middle C" (or a third, or a slur, or .....) The students seem excited to find out that there are parts of that complicated music that they already know.


I love that idea! I think it's really important to reinforce students' confidence if I sense that they might be feeling a little overwhelmed, frustrated or incompetent. In that case, if they are in the middle of or nearing the end of a method book, I will make them go back to the very beginning and play me the very first song in the book, so that they can see how easy it is for them now. Sometimes I will glance backwards in their notebook and say, "Look, we have been taking lessons together for a year (or six months or whatever the case may be)! Look at the things we were working on way back then- you've come so far!" That seems to boost their confidence.
_________________________
"Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured and far away." -Thoreau

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