Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Here's an activity that really engages the whole brain!  It challenges students to play a piece of music with as few mistakes as possible while physically performing another task.  I used "Hot Cross Buns" on recorder.  My students (grades 3-5) played HCB for a review before attempting the task.  I asked my students then to stand on the perimeter of the carpet and remove their shoes.  I then took the shoes, and tossed them about the carpet so they were forced to maneuver among other students and other shoes.  Some shoes were tipped onto their side while others were upside down or right side up.  The goal of the activity is to find your shoes, put them on the right feet, and return to the perimeter-all while playing HCB over and over.  When we tried it for a second time, our goal was to play with fewer mistakes than we made the first time.  You can challenge your students by playing another familiar song.  The kids LOVED this I thought I'd write it down and share. :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I use this activity with my daughter who is taking Suzuki violin, but it could very well work for a classroom.  You could substitute bowls with plastic cups, plastic containers, etc.  Set up the bowls (3 different sizes for triple meter or 4 for duple meter) largest to smallest or according to timbre.  For instance, I will make the first bowl a plastic tupperware container so that beat one is accented through timbre.  Then while she listens to the music, she taps the beat on each bowl with a wooden spoon.  This promotes parallel listening, not passive.  My son even likes to jump in and play while she plays violin!  If you are a music teacher, you could have students evaluate steady beat/tempo during recorder (or any other instrument) performances!  The original idea came from Sarah Bylander Montzka's video on the Parents as Partners Suzuki website.  I modified it to work for me :) 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I found a roll of unused bubble wrap at Goodwill and thought I should come up with something for it.  So, my first graders were working on So, La, Mi, and Do and my fourth graders were working on steps, skips and repeated notes....VOILA!  Two birds with one stone!  So, I cut the bubble wrap in sections, made a three lined staff (so my first graders could read with ease) and drew on the back of the wrap with a Sharpie.  The trickiest part was, figuring out how to draw the treble clef backwards!  As an added bonus, I can use it over and over because the kids are so small, they don't really even pop it (unless they're trying).  For first grade, I sang a pattern, and they had to find it and stand on it.  If I get some more (which I'd like to), I'd like to make a game board out of my carpet and have them move from pattern to pattern according to what they hear me sing/play.  For fourth grade, I put the patterns scattered on the floor (upside down, etc.) and I said "Begin on a space.  Skip up, step up."  I hope you find this useful!