Monday, November 30, 2009

Rhythm Dictation Christmas Style

We are taking the Christmas music (that started right playing on the radio stations right after Halloween) and using it this week for rhythm dictation.  Using some familiar Christmas songs, the students will write the rhythms symbolically.  Beginner students use chips to represent the different rhythms.  

If I clap one half note and two quarter notes then the student would put a chip on the 1st, 3rd and 4th beat.  For more advanced students I have them write the correct rhythm in the ornament.  I use a page protector and a dry erase marker so that I can use the sheet over and over again.   You can use whatever song you like, but here are some songs with simple rhythms:

Jingle Bells
Up on the House Top
Jolly Old St. Nicholas
Little Drummer Boy
Here Comes Santa Clause
I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause
O little town of Bethlehem

Rhythm Dictation

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Turkey Songs

Thanksgiving is upon us and this is a great time to sing about that funny bird, the turkey. 

Turkey Jerky Sung to "The Hokey Pokey"
You put your right wing in
You put your right wing out
You put your right wing in 
And you shake it all about
You do the Turkey Jerky (strut like a turkey)
And you turn yourself about
That's what it's all about (Turkey Jerky)

Alternate verses: Left wing, drumsticks(legs), stuffing(tummy), waddle (neck), head, tail feathers
Five Little Turkeys
5 little turkeys standing by the door
1 waddled off and then there were four
4 little turkeys underneath a tree
1 waddled off and then there were three
3 little turkeys with nothing to do
1 waddled off and then there were two
2 little turkeys in the noon day sun
1 waddled off and then there were one
1 little turkey better run away
For soon will come Thanksgiving day.
Ten Little Turkeys
10 little turkeys standing by the gate
2 waddled off and then there were eight
8 little turkeys playing with sticks
2 waddled off and then there were six

6 little turkeys  standing by the door
2 waddled off and then there were four
4 little turkeys with nothing to do
2 waddled off and then there were two
2 little turkeys better run away.
For soon will come Thanksgiving day.

See my feathers Sung to "Mary Had a little lamb"
See my feathers colored bright
Colored bright, colored bright
See my feathers colored bright
What a pretty sight
(link thumbs and wiggle fingers for feathers)

See me tummy big and fat
Big and fat, big and fat
See my tummy big and fat
What do you think of that?

See my head look all around
All around, all around
See my head look all around
For corn upon the ground

See me as I strut and sway
Strut and sway, strut and sway
See me as I strut and sway
This is what I say: 
Gobble, gobble, gobble

Monday, November 23, 2009

Candyland Game

I love using familiar games to teach music concepts and one of my favorites is Candyland.  I actually found this game as a beach towel one summer.  I snatched it up and knew I could use it for teaching music.  I wrote the musical alphabet on the colored squares to make the game musical.  To play I have students pick a pawn (usually a fun eraser) and then draw a card.  I use some staff cards for level one and up and keyboard cards (cards with an x on a key) for my beginners. You identify that note and go to that letter on the board.  The fun candyland cards are intermingled in the staff cards. You can get a candy cane, gum drop or ice cream cone (my favorite). The special cards that came with the towel were really big, so the kids knew when they were about to get a special card.  I decided to make my own special card and just attached them to some playing cards that were the same size as my staff/keyboard cards.  I usually play with them or have another student join them.  It is a whole lot of fun and motivates the students to learn those note names.

Thanks to Layton Music for this idea

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bingo Chips

I use bingo chips for the musical alphabet and numbers.  I purchased mine at a local educational store but I have provided a link below if you want to buy some online.  I take the bingo chips and put alphabet stickers or number stickers on them.  I found these stickers in the ever popular scrap booking section.  I use these to label keys on the keyboard, in my Turkey Worksheet and many other games and activities.  With the number chips, I have the students put the correct number under rhythm cards in different time signatures so they have a visual for counting.

Click here for a link to purchase bingo chips

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thanksgiving Songs

Thanksgiving is a great time to teach children about what they can be thankful for.  You can use Thanksgiving as a time to talk about families, food groups, travel, manners, pilgrims, Native Americans and of course turkeys.  Here are some thanksgiving songs about being thankful and Thanksgiving Dinner.

Thankful and you Know it Sung to: "If you're happy and you know it"
If you're thankful and you know it clap your hands
If you're thankful and you know it clap your hands
If you're thankful and you know it then your face will surely show it
If you're thankful and you know it clap your hands

Idea #1: Let the children say things they are thankful for and put it in the song: "If you're thankful for your family clap your hands."
Idea #2: Add different motions: stomp your feet, jump around, shout "Thank you"
We eat Turkey Sung to "Where is Thumbkin"
We eat turkey, we eat turkey
Yum, yum, yum
Yum, yum, yum
Always on Thanksgiving
Always on Thanksgiving
Yum, yum, yum
Yum, yum, yum

Idea #1: Substitute different foods we eat at Thanksgiving, by asking the students what food they see at Thanksgiving.
Idea #2: Have some play foods for the children to pick from and sing about each food.
I love the Turkey Sung to "This Land is Your Land"
I love the turkey
I love the stuffin'
I love the gravy 
I love corn muffins
I love my family
Gathered all together
I'm glad Thanksgiving time is here

I love the pumpkin pie
I love potatoes
I love the green beans
I love to say hello
To all my family
Gathered all together
I'm glad Thanksgiving time is here

I love my grandma
I love my daddy
I love my grandpa
I love my mommy
I love my family
Gathered all together
I'm glad Thanksgiving time is here
Thanksgiving Poem:
In school today we had to think of 
What we're thankful for
And for a kid as small as me, 
That was quite a chore
I scrunched my eyes. 
I thought real hard. 
I stared down at my shoe.
And then I thought, 
"Oh wait, I know
What I'm thankful for is YOU!"
- Jamie Stogner

Recommended Books:
1. Thanksgiving Mice by Bethany Roberts
2. Thanksgiving Turkey Trouble by Abby Klein
3. The Little Engine that Could Saves the 
    Thanksgiving Parade by Watty Piper
4. Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes
5. . . If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 by Ann McGovern

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Treble Clef Lines Introduction

Here is a worksheet I created using my new Music Mac Fonts.  This is an introduction to the lines on the Treble Clef.  Now, I know everyone uses the standard Every Good Boy Does Fine, but I change it up to reflect the girls:  Every Girl Buys Doll Furniture.  I explain to my students that the Treble Clef is the girl clef, where the girls sing up high.  It also is a very fancy looking clef and home of Treble Clef Girl.  This is a great visual worksheet to introduce the concept.  There is a fun matching activity match to reinforce the concept.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pilgrim and Native Songs

Pilgrim and Native Songs

Here are some Pilgrim and Native Songs that teach about the very first Thanksgiving. Some of these songs used to use the word "Indian" and I have substituted Native to be more sensitive to the Native American culture. The Thanksgiving story is a great example of sharing and cooperation.

Thanksgiving Things Sung to: "The Farmer and the Dell"
Hit the floor to the beat
The turkey in the pen
The turkey in the pen
All the children come and see
The turkey in the pen

Tap your knees to the beat
The pilgrims in the boat
The pilgrims in the boat
All the children come and see
The pilgrims in the boat

Clap your hands to the beat
The Natives in the field
The Natives in the field
All the children come and see
The Natives in the field

Snap fingers or swish hands to the beat
The pumpkins in the patch
The pumpkins in the patch
All the children come and see
The pumpkins in the patch

Clap hands over head to the beat
The butter in the churn
The butter in the churn
All the children come and see
The butter in the churn

Idea #1: You could divide up the groups to keep each beat and add the other groups as the song continues so that buy the end the whole class is keeping the beat in five different ways

Idea #2: After singing the song through you could start again, only this time singing it backwards starting with "butter in the churn"
Celebrate Sung to: "The Ants go Marching One by One"
The pilgrims are coming to celebrate, Hurrah, hurrah
The pilgrims are coming to celebrate, Hurrah, hurrah
The pilgrims are coming so don't be late
They'll sing and dance to celebrate
And we'll all have fun, so hurry and don't be late.

Substitute the following lines
The Natives are coming to share their food
The children are coming to play some games
The mothers are coming to cook the food
The fathers are coming to trade their goods

Idea #1: Choose children to represent the people in the song and act out the story

Idea #2: Talk about the games children might play in those times compared to what children play now. Discuss what the fathers might trade or how the 

mothers cook the food.

Sail the Mayflower Sung to "Row, row, row your boat"
Sail, sail, sail the Mayflower
Gently across the sea
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Pilgrims now are free

Chop, chop, chop the wood
Put it in a pile
Build a little log cabin
That will make you smile.

Children find a partner and sit down facing them. They hold hands and rock back and forth to "sail, sail." On the next chorus the pat hands together for "chop, chop." Then they make a house by reaching their hands up and putting them together with their partner.
Another Ten Little Natives Sung to: "Ten Little Indians"
1 little, 2 little, 3 little Natives
4 little, 5 little, 6 little Natives
7 little, 8 little, 9 little Natives
10 little Native boys and girls

They jumped in a boat and the boat flipped over
They jumped in a boat and the boat flipped over
They jumped in a boat and the boat flipped over
10 little Native boys and girls

They swam and they swam, and they swam to their mother
They swam and they swam, and they swam to their mother
They swam and they swam, and they swam to their mother
10 little Native boys and girls

She hugged and kissed them and sent them to bed
She hugged and kissed them and sent them to bed
She hugged and kissed them and sent them to bed
10 little Native boys and girls

Idea #1: Have children pop up when you count the Natives
Idea #2: Act out the story with motions
Idea #3: Count the Natives backwards, starting with 10 little, 9 little
Idea #4: Skip count the Natives
2 little, 4 little, 6 little Natives
8 little, 10 little 12 little Natives
14, 16, 18 Natives; 20 little Native boys and girls

Monday, November 16, 2009

One Minute Club

One Minute Club

This idea came from Susan Paradis' website.  Every month I test my students and see how many notes they can name in one minute.  I use flash cards that are in a preset order, so that the cards get harder as the student moves through them.  I put stickers on the back of my flash cards so I can easily sort them into the levels I want.  Then I have them numbered so they can be in the correct order for each student.  

I only test the student on the notes they have been introduced to, so for example High and Low C in my studio aren't introduced until level 2B, so any student below that wouldn't have to identify those notes.  They must name 22 notes in one minute to get in the club.  This is all the lines and spaces of the Treble Clef, Bass Clef and then Middle C for Bass (stem down) and Treble (stem up) and D above Middle C and B below Middle C.   After they are in the club and learning more notes, I let them pass if they can't think of the note so they can move on to another flash card.

I keep track how many notes each student has named each time and list them on a tally board.  Students are recognized for a personal high score and they are also distinguished by level.  I give each level a color, that matches the color of the book they are studying.  A student in level one may score a 30 because they have mastered the basic 22 notes, but a student in level two may only score a 25 because they have learned 5 new notes and are still working on them.

I also test students for the One Minute Chord Club and Key Club. The students name chords in root position, identifying the chord's root and it's quality, minor or major.  I start with the white keys and then I add inversions and then black key chords such as F# minor.  For keys we do major first and then I have them identify minor keys as well.

When a student gets in the club for the first time, there is a card on Susan Paradis' website that you can give the children.  One Minute Club Card

I like to also give out a certificate at the end of the year recital with the student's highest score of the year printed on the certificate.

The students are very motivated by this and try to achieve the best score possible each time.  I have had students actually ask me for flash cards to practice at home and links to websites, so they can practice their note naming.  What GREAT MOTIVATION!  I definitely see an improvement in the skills of my students through this program.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sticky flags

I LOVE sticky flags.  If you haven't seen the post it flags or used them before, you have to try them.  I use them to mark the kids music and their assignment pages.  I've used them on the piano for beginners to help the child not move from a certain position.  For example, if the child is in Middle C Position, I would put a flag on E and then A so if they shifted out of position they would feel the post it flag.  These are a music teachers best friend!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Color Songs

Color Songs

As I searched for songs to teach the colors, I found that most out there don't deal with all the colors.  There are some great ones that deal with a specific color.  They teach you how to spell the color and name some things that are traditionally that color.  I will try and add some of these songs in the coming months.  Here are some color songs and rhymes that deal with all the colors.  I have attached some examples of some of the visuals I use for these songs.  Enjoy!

If you see red Sung to: If you’re happy and you know it
If you see a red____, nod your head 
If you see a red ____, nod your head
If you see a red today
Nod your head and shout hurray
If you see a red ____, nod your head

Put whatever red thing you see in the blank and continue with the other colors

If you see a Blue ____ touch your shoe
If you see a green ____ wave your arms
If you see a yellow ____ clap your hands
If you see a orange ____ tap your head
If you see a purple ____ wiggle your ears
If you see a pink ____ clap your hands
If you see a brown ____  shrug your shoulders
If you see a black ____ pat your knees
If you see a white ____ touch your elbow

You can have the kids pick a secret color and tell them to find that color in the room.  Then they tell you what they found in the song.
Where are the colors?  Sung to: The Paw-Paw Patch
Where, oh, where are the kids with blue on? 
Where, oh, where are the kids with blue on?
Where, oh, where are the kids with blue on? 
Stand up tall so we can see you now

Repeat with a new color and substitute different actions for ‘Stand up tall’ like "shake your hands, turn around, wave one finger, touch your nose"
Little red caboose
Little red caboose, Chug, chug, chug-
Little red caboose, Chug, chug, chug-
Little red caboose Behind the train, train, train, train.
Smokestack on its back, back, back, back-
Coming around the track, track, track, track-
Little red caboose Behind the train, choo!

Idea #1: Change colors for the caboose
Idea #2: Have the children get in a line and chug around the room like a choo-choo train.
Click here for Train Visual
Balloons Colors
10 balloons they all were mine 
The green one went pop and then there were nine
9 balloons flew near the gate 
The red one went pop and then there were eight
8 balloons not eleven 
The orange one went pop and then there were seven
7 balloons doing a trick 
The purple one went pop and then there were six
6 balloons took a dive 
The yellow one went pop and then there were five
5 balloons bouncing on the floor 
The pink one went pop and then there were four
4 balloons stuck up in a tree 
The black one went pop and then there were three
3 balloons the wind blew and blew 
The white one went pop and then there were two
2 balloons sitting in the sun 
The brown one went pop and then there was one
1 green balloon thought he was a hero 
Until he went pop and then there were zero

The order of the color doesn't matter so you can use whatever 
color you want for the underlined words.  

Idea #1: Give out the balloons visuals to the students and have them tell you what color they have
Idea #2: Have ten students stand up representing a balloon, they could hold a balloon visual or the number.  When there balloon 'pops' they sit down.
Click here for Balloon Visual

Favorite Color Books:
1. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin
2. Freight Train Board Book by Donald Crews

3. A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni
4. Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tough Turkey

Here is a worksheet I use to reinforce the musical alphabet and intervals.  The student completes the musical alphabet on the turkey's feathers.  On the turkey's with intervals, the student completes the musical alphabet by 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, 6ths or 7ths.  With the interval turkeys you can start on whatever letter you choose or write a different letter in the first feather for group lessons.  I usually have the students go around to the left or up alphabetically, but they could also go around to the right going backwards or down through the alphabet.  I use my bingo chips to complete the turkey's feathers, but you could have your student write on the turkeys as well.

Google Docs: Turkey Worksheet

Here is an example of how to complete the worksheet

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Turkey Songs

Turkey Songs

The first song is a great song to review colors and rhyming words.  I have a link to a download of visuals of the items the 'turkey is in' so the kids have a visual of that color.  Sometimes I have the kids tell me what the rhyming word will be for example  "Turkey is in the blue sky so the rhyming H word would rhyme with sky and be?  Hi"

The second song is a songs about the turkeys getting away and counting backwards from 5 or you could count down from any number.  On these kinds of songs you could also introduce subtraction, changing the number of turkeys that got away and having the students subtract.

Turkey in the brown straw(Sung To: Skip To My Lou My Darling)
Turkey in the brown straw, Ha, ha, ha, ha
Turkey in the brown straw Ha, ha, ha, ha
Turkey in the brown straw, ha, ha, ha, ha
Turkey in the brown straw

Turkey in the white sleigh, hey, hey, hey
Turkey in the blue sky, hi, hi, hi
Turkey in the red barn, harn, harn, harn
Turkey in the yellow corn, horn, horn, horn
Turkey in the green tree, hee, hee, hee
Turkey in the purple plum, hum, hum, hum, hum
Turkey in the pink bow, ho, ho, ho
Turkey in the black shoe, hoo, hoo, hoo

Click here to download picture for Turkey in the Brown Straw

Driver Driver
This old road is hard and bumpy 
(Alternate pat on legs)
Five fat turkeys wild and jumpy 

(Hold up fingers, wiggle on ‘wild’, hands up on ‘jumpy’)
Driver driver not so jerky 
(Pretend to drive)
Or you'll make us loose a turkey 
(Wag finger)
Driver! Driver! Stop I say! 
(Pretend to drive, hold up hand on ‘stop’)
One fat turkey got away! 
 (Hold up number of turkey)
Repeat each verse until just one turkey is left and say:
Driver! Driver! stop I say!
Let's save this turkey for Thanksgiving Day!

Idea #1: Count down from 10 taking 2 away each time for skip counting
Idea #2: Count down from 12 taking different amounts away each time for subtraction

More Thanksgiving Songs

Monday, November 9, 2009

Piano Races

Our game this week is Piano Races.  I don't remember where I first heard about this game, but it is a great one to use, especially for keyboard recognition.  I have added on to it over the years.

1. Have the students pick a thing to represent them in the game.  I have a collection of erasers I use, though you could use anything that will fit on the keys.  You need two or more to play this game.
2. Start at the lowest or highest end of the piano and choose an alphabet card.
3. Move to that note and the first one to the end of the piano wins.

I have several variations of this game:
Variation #1: Use intervals, cards with word or staff notation, melodic and harmonic
Variation #2: Identify chord inversions 
Variation #3: Identify Keys
Variation #4: Identify or add up a rhythm

I don't have the students identify a note name on the staff, because the note they move to is not the actual note represented on the staff.

I am not sure where this idea originally came from but many teachers have this game on their websites.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Magic Wand and Magic Notes

I have used a magnetic wand and magnetic chips in my studio for years.  I call them magic notes.  The students love to play with them and they are just the  right size to represent a note on the staff.  We use them for marking cards,  note learning and even counting scores. 
I used them recently in the Tic Tac Toe Game.   I call the wands, Magic Wands and the chips magic notes. Here is a link to a website where you can purchase them.

Another link for Magnetic Wand

Check out these Great Resources!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Music Fonts

I purchased a program for music fonts that helps you create your own worksheets and flash cards.  I hope to learn to use it quickly and start posting some helpful activities with it.  Click on the link above to learn more about it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Scarecrow Songs

Here are some Scarecrow Songs I sang with the kids this week. Enjoy!

Jingle Jangle Scarecrow
When all the cows were sleeping and the sun was behind a cloud.
Up jumped a scarecrow and shouted very LOUD!
"I'm a Jingle Jangle scarecrow with a floppy floppy hat.
I can shake my arms like this! And shake my feet like that!"
When all the hens were roosting and the moon's behind a cloud,
Up jumped the scarecrow and shouted very loud
"I'm a jingle jangle scarecrow with a flippy floppy hat,
I can shake my hands like this and shake my feet like that.

The kids love crouching down and then popping up on "Up jumped the scarecrow"
We move are arms and feet of course as directed
I also ask the children what time of day is the scarecrow dancing?

The Floppy Scarecrow

The floppy, floppy scarecrow
Guards his field all day
He waves his floppy, floppy ___________
And scares the crows away.

Pick a body part or article of clothing to put in the blank
Act out this movement

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tic Tac Toe Game for the Keyboard

Tic Tac Toe is a great way to review just about any concept!

I have flash cards of notes on the staff, chords, keys and keyboard names. Depending on the student's level I make a grid out of these cards.  3 x 3 like Tic Tac Toe.

Then I have a stack of drawing cards with the alphabet on them or the chord or key names.  The student draws a card and marks their board if they find the matching chord, key or note.  I usually have a game going for me or another student and we see who can get tic tac toe first.

After someone wins, I replace the marked cards with new cards so they can have some different material to work on.  The markers you use can be anything: bingo chips, candy, erasers or my favorite: Magic Notes

Look for my Tic Tac Toe Keyboard Game.

Little Light Shine

Little Light Shine was started last year. I wanted to share my songs and activities with children in their child care centers. It has been a lot of fun and hope to add more centers as more people find about it. Feel free to click on the title above to see my website.

Welcome to Sing a Song

Sing a Song blog will feature children's songs and music activities that I use in my teachings. I am a piano teacher and have been singing with children in school and child care centers for over 8 years. These songs are a collection of material I have gotten over the years from websites, workshops and some I have created myself.  The games are things I use in my piano studio to teach about music. I plan on including helpful tips and bright ideas that I come across as well. Please feel free to request a song about a particular subject and I will see if I can find one or make one up. Enjoy!


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