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#1761344 - 09/28/11 09:25 PM Suggestions for fun musical activities for 3-5 year olds
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
I'm curious to know how it is that music teachers start teaching 3-5 year olds. What do you do for the first couple of months? I can't imagine getting them to pay attention without making it REALLY fun and exciting. So what do you guys do in such situations?
_________________________
Current:
Beethoven: Sonata Op.31, No.2 ("Tempest")
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes (Prelude 1, Book 1)
Next in line:
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23
Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)

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#1761381 - 09/28/11 10:34 PM Re: Suggestions for fun musical activities for 3-5 year olds [Re: liszt85]
pianoeagle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 218
Loc: Texas
I currently teach three 4-year olds using the Music for Little Mozarts method. It's designed for either group or individual instruction. I only teach private lessons, but I've found this method to be well-liked by both the parents and students. The first book introduces Beethoven Bear and Mozart Mouse, and the pieces in the books are about BB's and MM's coming to life when children go to sleep at night. There is a wide range of supplementary materials available, including stuffed animals that correspond with the books. The kids love the activities, too.

I plan to transition my kids out of this method by the time they turn 6, but it's a great start, and it's fun to teach.

http://www.musicforlittlemozarts.com/
_________________________
Children's piano instructor
Member NGPT, MTNA/TMTA/PMTA, NFMC/SJFMC

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#1761386 - 09/28/11 10:47 PM Re: Suggestions for fun musical activities for 3-5 year olds [Re: liszt85]
tdow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/13/10
Posts: 203
Loc: Canada
Lessons for preschoolers are a whole new ball game compared to ages 6 and up. Their attention span is much less and the knowledge they come into lessons having is also quite different. For many this will be the first one-on-one lesson experience they have ever had. I've had the most success treating their piano lessons as an all-encompassing "music lesson" using the piano as the focus for musical exploration. The most important considerations is to split your 30 minute lesson time up into different sections. You'll need different stations set up in your studio that you can "visit" and learn from. Try having a white board with erasable markers, a "game" centre for flash-card type games, a listening centre for movement activiites, a clutter-free/distraction-free piano smile and a place where they can use manipulatives to demonstrate their understanding. You'll need to provide lots of variety in the lesson to keep them focused. Also, choosing a method book or piano program that is designed specifically for this age group is really important.

The extra effort is worth it - this is such a fun age group to teach and the payoff for your studio is also great - you "hook" students young and they often become long-term clients.
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#1761437 - 09/29/11 12:41 AM Re: Suggestions for fun musical activities for 3-5 year olds [Re: liszt85]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1264
Loc: California
I group students of the same age in a class. Activities that I would do with a 5 year old would be way too much for a 3 year old.

3's are still toddlers. I do a 30-min 'Mommy & Me' type class. We sing, clap, march, stomp, hop, etc.. We play with rhythm instruments like jingle bells, egg shakers, & rhythm sticks. We do finger games and quiet songs on the carpet. We do songs with scarves and also use hoops for circle games. Keyboard activities are limited to bouncing on black keys, bouncing on white keys, and high and low sounds (birdies and elephants).

4's are the same structure with more keyboard activities. We do black key puzzles where they cover and play the 2 black key sets and 3 black key sets. We begin to learn the notes on the piano (starting w/middle DO), but we don't use piano fingering yet, just pointer. We do songs that teach soft hand shape and from there move to numbering the fingers.

5's do the same activities but begin using piano fingering (thumb on DO, etc..) and have a curriculum that includes weekly at home practice. All classes include the parent.

It's true that if you start them in music when they're young they have a real advantage later on.
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Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
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#1761439 - 09/29/11 12:45 AM Re: Suggestions for fun musical activities for 3-5 year olds [Re: liszt85]
Luke in ChiTown Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/07/11
Posts: 96
Loc: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Originally Posted By: liszt85
I can't imagine getting them to pay attention without making it REALLY fun and exciting. So what do you guys do in such situations?


Answer: Try to make it really fun and exciting.

Seriously though, the above poster who commented that this is an entirely different ballgame is exactly right. A piano 'lesson' for a 3 or 4 year old doesn't at all resemble what most of us have in our heads as a piano lesson. Regarding attention span, it's not entirely accurate to say they have short attention spans. They tend to be extremely focused all day long. It's just that their focus shifts very rapidly from one object/activity/idea to the next. You have to take your cues from them as to what direction each lesson is going to take. Therefore you need to have an over-abundance of activities planned and be prepared for anything.

Remember that young children are constantly absorbing what goes on around them. It's typical for one of my 3 or 4 year old students who is giving no indication that he is paying attention whatsoever to suddenly demonstrate that he was following me all along. A common trick for Suzuki teachers is to switch to giving the parent some time at the piano and working with them on the same things they wish to accomplish with the child. It's amazing how well this works.

Most importantly, if you are used to working with older students, be prepared for very slow progress. Celebrate every little victory. Get used to repeating the same activities over and over again. Even though progress comes very slowly, a child who starts at 3 or 4 will have a significant advantge over a child who starts at 6 or 7.
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#1761781 - 09/29/11 04:11 PM Re: Suggestions for fun musical activities for 3-5 year olds [Re: dumdumdiddle]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Originally Posted By: dumdumdiddle

4's are the same structure with more keyboard activities. We do black key puzzles where they cover and play the 2 black key sets and 3 black key sets. We begin to learn the notes on the piano (starting w/middle DO), but we don't use piano fingering yet, just pointer. We do songs that teach soft hand shape and from there move to numbering the fingers.


Just curious.. do you use specific method books for these "songs that teach soft hand shape", etc?
_________________________
Current:
Beethoven: Sonata Op.31, No.2 ("Tempest")
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes (Prelude 1, Book 1)
Next in line:
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23
Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)

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#1761782 - 09/29/11 04:12 PM Re: Suggestions for fun musical activities for 3-5 year olds [Re: tdow]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Originally Posted By: tdow
Also, choosing a method book or piano program that is designed specifically for this age group is really important.


Any recommendations for a method book other than the ones already given in this thread? Thanks.
_________________________
Current:
Beethoven: Sonata Op.31, No.2 ("Tempest")
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes (Prelude 1, Book 1)
Next in line:
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23
Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)

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#1761833 - 09/29/11 05:13 PM Re: Suggestions for fun musical activities for 3-5 year olds [Re: liszt85]
Elza Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/11/10
Posts: 21
Loc: UK
You could try looking at Dogs and Birds . The method was written specifically for the age range you are interested in, and you can get ideas from the videos on the website.

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#1761926 - 09/29/11 08:03 PM Re: Suggestions for fun musical activities for 3-5 year olds [Re: liszt85]
Cadence-mmdg Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/14/11
Posts: 1
I currently teach in a studio that offers lessons for 4-6 year olds. Using a curriculum that is specifically created for that age group is the key. It is true that children of that age can learn substantial musical concepts, not just "singing and schmoozing." The concepts and skills are learned through a combination of flash cards, activities, verbal instruction, games, races and friendly contests. If you would like to learn more about this program you can visit our blog: http://mmgroup1.wordpress.com/the-minimaster%E2%84%A2-early-childhood-music-program/

Something that I find especially FUN and effective is a game that the owner of the studio created called Music Bingo. It is basically a bingo game using musical concepts. Although the students do not understand all of the concepts at this point, they are becoming familiar with them by hearing and identifying them. We believe this will give them a head start in their transition into future lessons. We sell that game here in our studio and on our website, but I am sure you could find or create something like it as well.

Good luck!

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#1761960 - 09/29/11 09:45 PM Re: Suggestions for fun musical activities for 3-5 year olds [Re: Elza]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Originally Posted By: Elza
You could try looking at Dogs and Birds . The method was written specifically for the age range you are interested in, and you can get ideas from the videos on the website.



I took a look and I like it! Very sensible approach.
_________________________
Current:
Beethoven: Sonata Op.31, No.2 ("Tempest")
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes (Prelude 1, Book 1)
Next in line:
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23
Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)

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#1761981 - 09/29/11 10:52 PM Re: Suggestions for fun musical activities for 3-5 year olds [Re: liszt85]
LeaC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: liszt85
Originally Posted By: tdow
Also, choosing a method book or piano program that is designed specifically for this age group is really important.


Any recommendations for a method book other than the ones already given in this thread? Thanks.


The Music Tree by Frances Clark is very good. It features Chip, who points out technical ideas, and Bobo, who helps us to listen. Pedagogically kind of steep, but lots fun.


Here's another Suzuki game. The threes can usually start grasping this pretty well.

The sequence of the music alphabet can be taught by cutting out 3" x 3", or larger squares of poster board, with 7 groups of seven squares. Each group of squares is labeled with a bright color for each letter of the alphabet.

The first letters, A, are always the same color, the 2nd letter, B, is the same for each group, until you have 7 groups of 7 letters of the alphabet, all the As one color, all the Bs one color, all the Cs, one color, etc.

Now you can scramble them up on the floor and have the kids make music "snakes" that wrap around the room. They learn sequencing. Then have them make BACKWARD snakes! For fun you can have them make a square (or circle) with a snake head and tail. You can modify this game to have them pull out every other letter, so they see thirds, etc.

I always have them make their own copy of whatever handmade games I have in the studio. They love decorating and coloring their music tools. I keep plenty of large, non-toxic markers around for drawing notes (they can make the cutest notes!) and other musical sysmbols so they can get familiar with them in advance.

Good luck! The kids can be so much fun.
_________________________
Working on: Reworking Bartok's Suite Opus 14, Chopin's Polonaise Op.40, The Military (so much fun!)

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#1761998 - 09/29/11 11:25 PM Re: Suggestions for fun musical activities for 3-5 year olds [Re: liszt85]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1264
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: liszt85
Originally Posted By: dumdumdiddle

4's are the same structure with more keyboard activities. We do black key puzzles where they cover and play the 2 black key sets and 3 black key sets. We begin to learn the notes on the piano (starting w/middle DO), but we don't use piano fingering yet, just pointer. We do songs that teach soft hand shape and from there move to numbering the fingers.


Just curious.. do you use specific method books for these "songs that teach soft hand shape", etc?


I use the Harmony Road curriculum for all my group classes ( www.harmonyroadmusic.com ). The 4 year old curriculum is called 'Music in Me' and has a few songs for cumulative fingers/soft hand shape. The 'Frog Song' starts by tapping just the thumb, then adding pointer, then tall man, etc... until the whole hand is a frog hopping on the floor. The emphasis is NOT on individual fingers and their corresponding numbers (which can lead to playing the piano with 'stick-like' fingers) but rather the whole relaxed hand first.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

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#1762142 - 09/30/11 07:22 AM Re: Suggestions for fun musical activities for 3-5 year olds [Re: dumdumdiddle]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Thanks for all that info!
_________________________
Current:
Beethoven: Sonata Op.31, No.2 ("Tempest")
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes (Prelude 1, Book 1)
Next in line:
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23
Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)

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#1762150 - 09/30/11 07:40 AM Re: Suggestions for fun musical activities for 3-5 year olds [Re: LeaC]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: LeaC

Here's another Suzuki game. The threes can usually start grasping this pretty well.

The sequence of the music alphabet can be taught by cutting out 3" x 3", or larger squares of poster board, with 7 groups of seven squares. Each group of squares is labeled with a bright color for each letter of the alphabet....



I'm struggling to understand this, could you explain some more please? There are squares with letters on them (presumably A-G) but how do they relate to the notes? Do the children play the notes? How? And if not, how do the snakes relate to music?
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#1762162 - 09/30/11 08:05 AM Re: Suggestions for fun musical activities for 3-5 year olds [Re: liszt85]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
It appears to me that the Do-ré-mi nomenclature is very advantageous with littl'uns. I've got one that runs around in my house, he's not three yet and he knows the scale do-ré-mi-fa-sol-la-si-do forwards and backwards and sings it in tune. What do we do so that he learns ? Absolutely nothing. But we do a lot of music in our home, including a lot of solfège and we verbalize or sing nearly everything that we play at one moment or another. Do-ré-mi has a presence around him like a mother-tongue.

Of course my anecdote doesn't prove any general advantage of using Do-ré-mi with small children. However, I do suspect that the advantage is there. For one thing, the syllable-names have a very musical, song-like quality. There is another reason: the vocalization of the c-scale is a rather clumsy task. And backwards clumsier still: c-b-a-g-f-e-d-c. I suspect that even with older kids, few can navigate freely using letter-names.





Edited by landorrano (09/30/11 09:04 AM)

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#1763515 - 10/02/11 05:24 PM Re: Suggestions for fun musical activities for 3-5 year olds [Re: LeaC]
LeaC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
I mean "symbols"!
_________________________
Working on: Reworking Bartok's Suite Opus 14, Chopin's Polonaise Op.40, The Military (so much fun!)

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#1763528 - 10/02/11 05:46 PM Re: Suggestions for fun musical activities for 3-5 year olds [Re: ten left thumbs]
LeaC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
Originally Posted By: LeaC

Here's another Suzuki game. The threes can usually start grasping this pretty well.

The sequence of the music alphabet can be taught by cutting out 3" x 3", or larger squares of poster board, with 7 groups of seven squares. Each group of squares is labeled with a bright color for each letter of the alphabet....



I'm struggling to understand this, could you explain some more please? There are squares with letters on them (presumably A-G) but how do they relate to the notes? Do the children play the notes? How? And if not, how do the snakes relate to music?


I'm so sorry! I just saw this. This is a game that's played on the floor, away from the keyboard. You end up with a set of squares (each piece cut to a certain size), although it could easily be circles, that consists of about 7 groups of letters, A-G (7 letters of the music alphabet? Seven groups of A-G. 49 squares in all.) They can be put in a basket or a bag while not being used.

Likewise, you can make alphabet games on paper that they can learn away from the keyboard. "No H in Snake" is a fun Suzuki game. Take a piece of blank paper, draw a series of empty circles the are drawn in a wavey pattern across the paper.

This is a "snake". Make the circles large enough for them to draw a letter in each circle. Write in a starting note A for very young ones, and a random letter for a little older, of the music alphabet in the first circle. Then they have to continue from this point, filling each circle with the next letter of the alphabet. The joke is that if they write in an "H", you say, surprised (!) "No "H" in snake!" Everybody laughs. Do this backwards, too, starting on the last circle, and having them write in the note names as they would be descending on the keyboard (backwards on the snake on the paper).

These are fun ways to learn the notes forward and backward, as on the keyboard.

I really hope this explains better! Post again if not, please.
_________________________
Working on: Reworking Bartok's Suite Opus 14, Chopin's Polonaise Op.40, The Military (so much fun!)

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#1763547 - 10/02/11 06:29 PM Re: Suggestions for fun musical activities for 3-5 year olds [Re: LeaC]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: LeaC
[
I really hope this explains better! Post again if not, please.


Does anyone else understand or am I the only one that's thick?

Ok, there are circles or squares. Do you write letters on them or do the kids? I can't work out if you just described one game or two. if you write on them, do you write one letter in each circle? And then what do you do with them?

What is the point of the game, to teach the order of the letters?
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#1763568 - 10/02/11 07:51 PM Re: Suggestions for fun musical activities for 3-5 year olds [Re: liszt85]
ToriAnais Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Australia
Yes, there is one letter in each square, and then they are placed in order on the floor (A B C D E F G A B C D E F G), only to add "fun" for a four year old they are making a snake, and making a mistake is part of the fun instead of cause for frustration "No H in Snake!" I'm sure they'd have fun making a super wiggly long colourful snake on the ground. I think the idea is to have the student recognise the sequence of the musical alphabet, and by each letter having its own colour, the student will see that it is a pattern of repeating notes.

I teaching my students note names using the "D in the doghouse, E for elephant outside, C for cat on the other side" etc method, so I think a game like this would be good for showing that it's not all random, that there is a pattern to the notes.
_________________________
Piano teacher since August 2008.

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#1763669 - 10/03/11 12:11 AM Re: Suggestions for fun musical activities for 3-5 year olds [Re: ten left thumbs]
LeaC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
Originally Posted By: LeaC
[
I really hope this explains better! Post again if not, please.


Does anyone else understand or am I the only one that's thick?

Ok, there are circles or squares. Do you write letters on them or do the kids? I can't work out if you just described one game or two. if you write on them, do you write one letter in each circle? And then what do you do with them?

What is the point of the game, to teach the order of the letters?


Ten Left Thumbs, I apologize if I didn't explain this well. I need to create some files with games so I can think it out in advance, and then post. YES, there is another game that I added to my post. It starts with the word "Likewise". Now there are two games, one with singular, large squares or circles, and the other on a sheet of paper that can also be worked on on the floor or at a table (piano bench).

Tori has the right idea, and explained it well. Children who are about three are starting to understand concepts such as "in a row". They understand the words "in a row" at that age, and need play that will reinforce their progress in understanding sequencing, as in the order of the music alphabet, both forward and backward, as this is how the keyboard works. So, your making a sort of keyboard with the big snake, only it's on the floor. The point is to make learning fun, and to break concepts down into digestable parts. Play is how children learn.

After a time, according to your judgement, you can start introducing these ideas at the keyboard. You can tease them by asking coyly, "What's next?", when they get to the "G" letter. If they mistakenly say "H", it's a big joke.

These games were partly from Suzuki music books, and partly my own creations, which anyone can do. Once you get started, you will start to have all kinds of ideas.

Here are two books written for use in the Suzuki method:

Music Theory for Children
and, Music Mind Games, both by Michiko Yurko

Also, I have several books from

http://www.friendshiphouse.com/

that have some good ideas in them.

The games originally for Suzuki can easily be used for any pre-reading student, individual or group. There are so many good ones. I will write out some files and post them as I can. This is really what I was hoping to do here, as I don't have my little ones any longer. I miss them. Thanks for the opportunity to share!
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Working on: Reworking Bartok's Suite Opus 14, Chopin's Polonaise Op.40, The Military (so much fun!)

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#1763672 - 10/03/11 12:22 AM Re: Suggestions for fun musical activities for 3-5 year olds [Re: ten left thumbs]
LeaC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
I forgot tlt, you can write in the letters for the your own set of "snake" cards. Children also learn from imitation, so you can have them copy yours, or have Mom or Dad work with them at home to make their own cards. I try to have them make by hand any games that they use at home, which is a Suzuki tradition. Just make sure they keep the color scheme right for repeated notes of the alphabet.

The second game, on paper, is for them to write in exclusively, except for some help if they need it. That's a little more advanced.

Wait until you hear about making (poster board)sandwiches for teaching "form" to them! They'll be mastering A-B-A song form in no time. But, that's for later, as I am pooped!

Maybe Tori will share with you the idea behind hand-made items as a learning tool.
_________________________
Working on: Reworking Bartok's Suite Opus 14, Chopin's Polonaise Op.40, The Military (so much fun!)

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#1763720 - 10/03/11 03:15 AM Re: Suggestions for fun musical activities for 3-5 year olds [Re: LeaC]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: LeaC
the order of the music alphabet, both forward and backward, as this is how the keyboard works. So, your making a sort of keyboard with the big snake, only it's on the floor.


Interesting.

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#1763723 - 10/03/11 03:19 AM Re: Suggestions for fun musical activities for 3-5 year olds [Re: liszt85]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Thanks for the replies. Shall we stick to just the one game till I've got this? I have set of squares or circles with the letter names on them in a bag. Each of the A's have one colour, each of the B's have a different colour. I start to make a snake on the floor. Does the kid help me? What I'm struggling with is that, if the letters are to go in sequence, then there is one right answer all along, with 6 wrong ones, and if I let the kid help me, then we will probably end up with a 'mistake' which I will have to correct. And really at this age I was trying to get away from that kind of teaching.

Next, you need 7 colours for this. Not impossible.

And do the colours form any kind of natural order that would give the student a hint?

Next another question about letters. Is it normal in the US to teach capital letters and letter names first? Here they teach lower case first, and not the letter names but the sound (e.g. 'kuh' for c not 'see'). Most children will know the alphabet song but will have no idea what it relates to.

I'm motivated in my question when I remember sending my first son to piano lessons when he was 5 and the teacher just didn't get that he didn't know capital letters or letter names.
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#1763817 - 10/03/11 08:53 AM Re: Suggestions for fun musical activities for 3-5 year olds [Re: liszt85]
Monaco Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/28/11
Posts: 387
Loc: GA
Here are a few of my favorite ear training games.

High - Low
Kids don't look as I play 2 notes and they tell me if I have gone from higher to lower or lower to higher.

Find the note
I grab 2 pencils and section off an area of the keyboard. (usually 3-5 white keys for starters) Kids don't look as I play a note (I use the pedal). They then turn around and try to find the one that sounds the same. They can play as many notes as they like but have to say "that's the one" when they think they've got the right one.

Echo me
Start with C-D and E. Kid's don't look. Play a simple phrase. Maybe 3 to 5 notes. I tell the kids which note I started on. Then they try to play it back to me. This can be increase in range, length of phrase and difficulty. Sometimes a two note interval is harder than a 4 note phrase.
_________________________
Ben Ereddia
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Beginning Tech

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#1764647 - 10/04/11 04:16 PM Re: Suggestions for fun musical activities for 3-5 year olds [Re: ten left thumbs]
LeaC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
Thanks for the replies. Shall we stick to just the one game till I've got this? I have set of squares or circles with the letter names on them in a bag. Each of the A's have one colour, each of the B's have a different colour. I start to make a snake on the floor. Does the kid help me?

What I'm struggling with is that, if the letters are to go in sequence, then there is one right answer all along, with 6 wrong ones, and if I let the kid help me, then we will probably end up with a 'mistake' which I will have to correct. And really at this age I was trying to get away from that kind of teaching.

Next, you need 7 colours for this. Not impossible.

And do the colours form any kind of natural order that would give the student a hint?

Next another question about letters. Is it normal in the US to teach capital letters and letter names first? Here they teach lower case first, and not the letter names but the sound (e.g. 'kuh' for c not 'see'). Most children will know the alphabet song but will have no idea what it relates to.

I'm motivated in my question when I remember sending my first son to piano lessons when he was 5 and the teacher just didn't get that he didn't know capital letters or letter names.


That teacher is exactly why we are doing this!

You scramble the cards in a pile on the floor, and the students job is to pick out, usually one at a time, the correct letter, followed by the next letter, and so forth, until the snake is a series of A-G, with colors matching for each letter. The exercise is to give kids a chance to learn about the letters on the keys, and to reinforce visual perceptions of the repeated fashion as found in octaves.

You don't need to get on the floor if you don't want to..

... you can form one set of A-G on the floor in front of the child so that he/she can copy it first until they get the idea.


The correct answer is placing A-G in order. That's all. You can work in the joke about no H is snake by asking them whats after G. There are other ways to work in the "H" joke. Use your imagination.

You write in the letters on the squares first so that there is one complete set. So that the student can practice at home, they can make a duplicate set, at home for homework, after they see yours.

You can use any way of writing the letters that you want to.

There is no connection to the letters and the colors at all except to show where letters repeat in an octave.

C' mon! Haven't you ever dumped out a big box of crayons into a bowl? You can have light green, dark green, light blue, dark blue, etc. Doesn't have to be primary colors.

Teaching young children requires a lot of effort. But the results are well worth it.

Check out some of the books I mentioned in a post above. Once you have a basic game, the sky is the limit with variations.

I hope this helps.
_________________________
Working on: Reworking Bartok's Suite Opus 14, Chopin's Polonaise Op.40, The Military (so much fun!)

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#1764691 - 10/04/11 05:59 PM Re: Suggestions for fun musical activities for 3-5 year olds [Re: liszt85]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Hi LeaC, I did look at the books and ordered one as it looked so good.

i do understand the game better now, thankyou for explaining. I give them a pattern, then they copy, that is fine and I can see it working. i am very comfortable on the floor.

The way I see it, for a 4 year old who doesn't know letters, this is a way to teach them to recognise the letters up to G.

The H in snake joke requires a child to know that H comes after G, and also to have an idea of what spelling is, so that is for a slightly different audience, but I can still see it working.

I can see the circles working well with each having a little cut-out so they fit into each other.

I'm hoping to get lots out of this book!
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#1764703 - 10/04/11 06:08 PM Re: Suggestions for fun musical activities for 3-5 year olds [Re: liszt85]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
OK, here's my game. I have a large dice with transparent pockets for sides in which I can place cards. I have 6 squares on which I have drawn in marker pen: crotchet (x2) minim (x2) semibreve (x2). The first time we place I roll the dice and see what I get. Suppose I get the crotchet. I just say 'mine is a circle and it's black inside and it's got a stick here.' Everyone gets to roll the dice ( parents too) and you just describe the note you get. That's week one.

next week, add names (though it doesn't matter if they forget). e.g. 'mine is a circle that's white inside and it has a stick' me: 'that's a minim'.

Week 3: add these:
crotchet we say 'walk'
minim we say 'mi - nim'
semibreve we say 'long note hold it'
(you need to put a beat into these syllables when you say them)

For dotted minim say 'mi - nim dot' (or 'half note dot' if you prefer.)

This just taps into the fascination everyone seems to have with the roll of a dice. of course could be adapted to note names too, 6 at a time.
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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