Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pumpkin Party Success

   Group lessons have a big role in my studio. I have them 3 times a year and my students, on the whole, participate with joy. I work with small groups,4-5 students of similar age or ability, and I have them for one hour. I limit my agenda to three concepts, one always is playing a song for each other. My students want to perform at these lessons and I have come to place that at top priority because of their insistence.
   Here is what I planned and here is how it played out.
   Our Layers Art Project was front and center. I found their definitions of dynamics, articulation, and expression most interesting. Their ideas are vague but they are more familiar than before.I tried giving them a more specific definition with my hands and humming; no words.
   The Halloween composing game was really fun and revelatory. Thank-you again Wendy Chan.It was helpful to mentally review the C minor 5 finger scale first. Those were the notes for their composition. Then we clapped the rhythm cards one by one. The Halloween theme words were tools to solidify the pattern
Then came the test. Could they start with the note they landed on and make a tune in the C minor scale using the correct rhythm? The first student, overcome with nerves, played the rhythm all on one note.

 Okay! What could we try next? The next girl, learning from the first try, went up the scale and back halfway with her pattern. Each player was more creative.
                                              (There is the little rhythm card on the music stand)
What I did not expect was the light dawning on each of them that 5 notes and a catchy rhythm was the beginning of a really cool song.
  Each student then played their piece. A tempo word was chosen by another student and they played it again with this new tempo. I was smart, I am not always that smart, to provide a glossary in the back of MFPA Book 3A so that they had to look up the definition if they could not remember it.
  We ended with layering gooey, sweet toppings on a pumpkin cookies. 
Sorry, parents:(

Another chance to review the layers of musicality.


  1. Wendy, I used your picture to illustrate your game. Hope you don't mind.

  2. I'm glad to hear that your pumpkin party group lesson went well and so delighted that you and your students had fun with the Halloween composing game :)

  3. You are a fun piano teacher! Great ideas.