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#26712 - 09/06/02 05:56 PM Games for VERY young students
MM Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 12/30/01
Posts: 348
Any suggestions on games you can play with a 4.5 year old (5 in October) who just started w/ MFLM 1? She's very smart and picks things up quickly. (Forget loud and soft, we're calling it forte and piano.) I'm trying to think of something to supplement the lesson that she could be learning without even trying. Maybe something with her flash cards?

MM

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#26713 - 09/06/02 06:17 PM Re: Games for VERY young students
pianoannie Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 07/20/01
Posts: 946
Loc: midwest USA
Here are some games I've played with my groups:
1) Make (or buy) a giant floor staff. Use bean bags for a variety of games involving naming notes, intervals. I also use Beanie Baby animals, and have the kids put the Alligator on the "A" space, the Bear on the "B" line, etc. (my own kids have lots of Beanie Babies, so coming up with an animal for each music letter was quite easy!) You could use pictures if you don't have that many stuffed animals. To make the floormat, I bought white vinyl (the thick, flannel backed stuff) at WalMart, used black electrical tape to make the lines of the staff, and I cut out the treble and bass clef from black felt. I also made a lot of notes from the felt for other games (when the kids are too wound up to trust them with beanbags!)
2) This is a game you can play on the keys of the piano. Use small game pieces (like the tokens in Monopoly, or buttons). Type up instuctions on cardstock that say things like "move up to the next D," "move up a 5th interval," "take an extra turn," etc. Type a lot of these, such that you can cut them out into small (ie 3" x 3") game cards. Put the cards in a bag, take turns pulling one out, and play it as a race from the lowest to the highest key.
3) There is a game you can buy called Crazy Eighths. I bought mine used, so I'm not sure where you'd be able to find it, but I bet you could find it online if you did a search. My students love it! It's just a deck of cards (very bright and colorful) with various treble and bass clef notes on them, but there are numerous games listed in the instruction manual, games like Old Maid (called Merry Widow), a memory matching game (called Haydn-Seek), and at least a dozen others.
4) Make or buy rhythm cards for the student to use rhythm instruments with. Young and even older students love this.
5) Name that tune. To keep it simple with a young one, just choose a number of notes (maybe 4 or 5) that you will play (from a song that they have already learned). They listen closely and try to name the song. As they get good at this, reduce the number of notes to even 2 or 3.
6) "Where is Thumbkin" nursery song, but change the words so that the song becomes a review of finger numbers.

Have fun with those young students! Pianoannie

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#26714 - 09/06/02 07:20 PM Re: Games for VERY young students
alidoremi Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/11/02
Posts: 2120
Loc: California
Here are some things I do:

1) Teaching line/space notes - buy some black velcro 'by the yard'; enough to make one or two lines on the floor. The velcro comes in two pieces together (the part that sticks and the other part). You'll only need the part that sticks to the carpet. Practice 'marching' on the line, 'marching' in the space. Simple words like "We are marching, we are marching, on the line, on the line" to the tune of Frere Jacques. Have the child hop from the space to the line and reverse.

2) For teaching note names - make some magnetic note boards. Office Depot and the like sell smaller magnetic 'wipe-off' boards. Make a staff with permanent marker or drafting tape (they call it chartpak?), then buy 1/2" black flexible craft magnets to make notes with. I don't spend a lot of time drawing notes, circles, etc.. because it's often too difficult for this young age. The magnet boards are so much easier.

3) Keep a supply of age-appropriate rhythm instruments on hand like rhythm sticks (Musikgarten's are the best; not too big for little hands), cluster bells, tambourines & castanets (from http://www.rhythmband.com/). Play a CD with some upbeat instrumental music and have you and the student tap your instrument freely (no special rhythm pattern, just to keep a steady beat).

4) Invest in a few hand puppets from http://www.folkmanis.com/ to illustrate certain songs in your curriculum.

5) Any finger games/songs are great. I do a chant with my bumblebee hand puppet in one hand (closed fist)and the other hand is also a closed fist.
Here is the beehive, where are the bees?
Hiding away where nobody sees.
Watch them come crawling out of the hive,

One, Two, Three, Four, Five!! Buzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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#26715 - 09/06/02 07:22 PM Re: Games for VERY young students
alidoremi Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/11/02
Posts: 2120
Loc: California
[ 09-06-2002: Message edited by: alidoremi ]

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#26716 - 09/07/02 01:57 PM Re: Games for VERY young students
MM Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 12/30/01
Posts: 348
I like the ideas for the finger numbers - also the rhythm instruments and finger puppets. I've been trying to find some rhythm instruments at reasonable prices, so I'll check out that site.

The note name games are great, but MFLM is pre-reading through Level 1. (And then they only do A-E, but I may incorporate some more names if she picks them up sooner.) I think they start on-staff in book 2?

MM

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#26717 - 09/07/02 03:00 PM Re: Games for VERY young students
Carole Offline
Star Member

Registered: 06/08/00
Posts: 2229
Loc: southern California
Misti, I found some cute finger puppets at a baby store. They had them out on the counter discounted and when I commented on them to the clerk, she gave me about 5 for my studio. \:D

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#26718 - 09/07/02 08:06 PM Re: Games for VERY young students
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
My 4.5-year-old daughter is finished with MFLM 1 already. I've done floor keyboard mat, blue jello rhythms, etc. with her. She knows her musical alphabet backwards & forwards, by steps & by skips. She also knows how to clap all the blue jello rhythms. She knows what all the musical symbols introduced in MFLM 1 mean, & she can instantly locate the correct keys when I ask her. Last but not least, she plays all the MFLM 1 songs perfectly with me. I have started her in MFLM 2, & she appears to be flying through this level as well. I think I may have to put her in PA primer when she gets to the part of MFLM 2 where staff reading is introduced. \:\)

The depressing part is that my newly enrolled 4.5-year-old boy student, who started lessons at the same time Little Pepper did, still can't locate Middle C. The only key he can instantly find is D. He has some problems with fine motor development as well, so his progress is going to be much slower. Of course, the fact that his parents don't work with him at home doesn't help anything. \:\(

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#26719 - 09/07/02 08:16 PM Re: Games for VERY young students
alidoremi Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/11/02
Posts: 2120
Loc: California
Remember that boys tend to be about 6 months or so behind girls of the same age, when it comes to verbal, social, fine motor skills, etc...

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#26720 - 09/08/02 07:31 AM Re: Games for VERY young students
Lisa Kalmar Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
Wow, what great ideas!

I have one to add: Rhythm card trains. You can make or purchase cards with rhythm patterns on them, 4 beats long. (And for preschoolers, don't be afraid to use rhythms beyond their technical ability at the piano because it will set thangs up nicely for the future.) After they have mastered individual cards say, "Hmmmmm...I wonder if you can get TWO cards in a row right?!?" THREE cards?!? etc., making a huge deal out of it each time. The more playful and goofy you are the better they like it. (Ms. Lisa has been known to faint from time to time when they have been successful at an 8 card train!)

When you use rhythm cards, lay them out flat on the floor in front of the child. (You will be looking at them upside down.) To control things, "conduct" with a pencil. At first, help them out with your voice but eventually challenge them to do it by themselves as you conduct. This exercise will help them with their tracking, pattern recognition, non-bumping between measures,etc.

Not a game but a Piece of Advice: When working with this age group it is necessary to reframe our thinking, giving up all expectation of "progress", particularly that which compares them to other children or is attached to a timeframe. To do so is deadly to both the teaching spirit and the individual child.

How to Reframe: Jalapeno, I think I'll pick on YOU! \:D Your little boy student has actually had very few lessons with you. I don't think he's slow at all. I think he's right on target for WHO HE IS. When I read your post, I thought, "WOW! He can already find D after just a few lessons!" In fact, I would probably give him The Mighty Hero Award for such an accomplishment. Imagine how this would make him bust up with pride. He would probably brag it to his mother when she picks him up and vow to figure out how to learn C really fast so he can surprise you again! Then his mother would be impressed and think, "WOW! Ms. Jalapeno has taught him how to find D already and look how excited Little Spiffy is! What a great teacher!" Seeing excitement about an accomplishment, however "small", is always better than a concern about developmental lagging when you're a parent, at least in my case, hehe...

Ali, I would disagree about the 6 months. I think it's longer, in some cases 6 years, or, in John's case, 6 decades!!! :p

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#26721 - 09/08/02 10:07 AM Re: Games for VERY young students
John Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/29/01
Posts: 2454
Loc: Bellingham, WA
The needle-ing and just-plain-naughty picking on John in this thread serves no purpose and may be escalating.

Put an end to it, please, or I will hafta delete or close this thread and place Lisa in solitary cyber-confinement. Thank you.

BTW - Brag even more when the lil' one can sing "do-re-mi" from that newly discovered D. :p

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#26722 - 09/08/02 10:21 AM Re: Games for VERY young students
John Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/29/01
Posts: 2454
Loc: Bellingham, WA
OK, I better post something on-topic:

For MFLM 1, I would (seriously) sing the major DO-RE-MI pattern and minor LA-TI-DO pattern, since almost EVERY SINGLE PIECE uses these major and minor pitches. Then create a 3 level "staircase" of sorts...or easier...use stairs in your house. Kids love to step up and down in various games.

TRY:

Singing and stepping simple patterns; later add the skip. Establish DO as
home base, and comment on how we may "move AWAY from home, but we always return there at the end" (or something like that).

Have the child stand on DO, then play RE and ask them to "go where the notes go". I would just toggle between DO and RE until the child can really hear this pattern; don't forget to repeat notes also.

Once the child is secure, play games where you sing a short pattern on a neutral syllable (or play it) and have them step to what you sing. You can also ask for the correct finger patterns that match the stepping pattern. Be sure to run the keyboard also and actually have the child PLAY these patterns.

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#26723 - 09/08/02 11:24 AM Re: Games for VERY young students
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
Lisa: The depressing part is not that this little boy can't do what Little Pepper does. It's that his mother thinks he's a genius. She doesn't yet know that Little Pepper is progressing a lot faster than her little boy, & I'm not about to tell her! When I have my in-studio Christmas recital & she hears Little Pepper play, she'll know. Hopefully, she won't pull her son out of lessons. Still, there's absolutely nothing I can do about parents like that. I just have to keep working with the boy & doing all I can. If she's not happy with that, then tough toenails. I can't rush the boy just because Mommy Dearest thinks he ought to be playing songs ASAP. :rolleyes:

 Quote:
Ali, I would disagree about the 6 months. I think it's longer, in some cases 6 years, or, in John's case, 6 decades!!! :p


Now THAT'S depressing! ;\)

[ 09-08-2002: Message edited by: Jalapeņo ]

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#26724 - 09/08/02 01:10 PM Re: Games for VERY young students
bethann Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 10/12/00
Posts: 359
Loc: Nebraska
Oh to have a young student who so quickly learned to find a note...My preschool student is still working on finding her notes with any consistency. But we keep at it. A couple of things I have found to work well.

Memory
You know that game where you have to find two matching cards? We play this with alphabet letters and keyboard letter positions. She LOVES it, and always asks to play it and even take it home. I got my cards and the idea from the Big Book of Music Games (not much else worthwhile in there yet, but maybe I haven't tried hard enough.

Keyboard Skittle Races
She LOVES Skittles too, and piano lessons are really a blast when we play Keyboard Skittle Races. I have some cards that say "note before B," or "two notes after C" (you get the picture) and we start at the low end of the piano and "race" our Skittles toward the top. You can also play this as a board game to enhance letter recognition.

You all have some wonderful game ideas. Keep them coming!

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#26725 - 09/09/02 06:24 AM Re: Games for VERY young students
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
Little Pepper really enjoys working on Blue Jello rhythms. We just sit & clap out rhythms straight off the Blue Jello Bingo Game cards. No, sitting & clapping rhythms is not really a game, but Little Pepper thinks it is! Who am I to tell her it's not supposed to be fun? ;\) \:D

As for solfege, Little Pepper sings the solfege syllables just fine without my help, thanks to the fact that she loves the MFLM Discovery CDs & listens to them all the time. She goes around singing the songs. I don't tell her that she has to or anything. She just does it. I don't drill her on that solfege stuff because she's been singing on pitch for a long time, & I honestly don't care whether she learns solfege or not. Solfege is a useful teaching tool for kids who can't carry a tune in a bucket, though.

I'm waiting for my Alfred MFLM 1 & 2 Recital & Halloween book packet to arrive. Little Pepper wants to dress up as Clara Schumann Cat & perform her MFLM pieces in my group classes.

BTW, I wish Alfred didn't sell the MFLM Lesson & Discovery CDs as a set. I don't like the Lesson CDs at all. And while I'm on the subject of MFLM, I just finished whiting out all the finger #'s of every single MFLM Lesson Book 2 piece (except for the 1st finger # for each hand). Little Pepper wasn't paying any attention to the finger #'s; but I decided to get rid of the finger #'s anyway. I just don't think all those finger #'s need to be there!

The lyrics to some of the MFLM Lesson Book 2 pieces are as bad as some of the ones for MFLM Lessons Book 1, :rolleyes: so I'm very thankful that Little Pepper can't read! I just teach her the pieces singing the Blue Jello rhythms & the letter names of the notes.

[ 09-09-2002: Message edited by: Jalapeņo ]

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#26726 - 09/09/02 06:54 AM Re: Games for VERY young students
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
There are some teaching aids at Pure Gold Teaching Tools http://www.puregoldteachingtools.com/home.htm that you might like. Their "Italian Terms for the Musically Inclined" flashcards are cute. Each card has a rhyme on the back to help students remember the term's definition. For example, "Playing fast is playing presto, like chasing your brother when he's a pesto."

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