Monday, November 26, 2012

Performance Class

     I taught my first ever performance class tonight! And, wonder of wonders, it went really well! It wasn't seamless, and it wasn't perfect, but we had a lot of fun and I got a good idea of how many activities you can fit into one night and what games work well.
     I used the "Call-It" game from the Music Matters blog as an opening activity after having students introduce themselves. We changed up the rules a little bit, one of my students was a violin student, and one was a fairly new beginner, so I let the student who drew the letter have a chance first to come up with a word for the letter. They got one point if they could come up with a word, and if they could define it they got another point. If they couldn't come up with anything, the letter was up for "steal", and a steal is only worth one point. The first student to 10 points won (I only had four students, so if we had gone through all of the tiles it would have taken a long time). I think that if I had a group of older students, the original rules would work better, but for younger students it was a great ice breaker.
     The winner of Call-It got to pick who performed first, so after the game we had our first performance. Then we filled out this worksheet about performing at the piano. I wished later that I had tweaked it a bit since I did have a violin student playing, but it worked out okay, and it helped go through some of the essentials of performing.
     Next my violin student played (Jingle Bells: it has to be the most popular music song among my younger students), and then I handed out listening forms for the next to songs. I gave the two younger students this listening sheet from, and the other students got this listening form (from to fill out. It was a great interactive listening tool, but it was a little difficult to pull them all back in when they got scattered.
     It was a little crazy, but we had a lot of fun, and I'm excited to see how my first recital goes on Sunday!
    I also came up with a fun way to listen to some classical music during lessons! I have been trying to work some music history into lessons little by little (more on that later) and today a came up with an idea. Often I'll have a student simply pick a composer and we'll stick in a CD (usually I have Beethoven, Chopin and Mozart on hand) and listen a little bit. Sometimes they'll play along with a percussion instrument, sometimes we just talk about the composer. 
     Today I put together a jar with some colorful paper in it.  I had colorful 3"x5" notecards that I cut into strips (fold them in half and then in half again so that you have a long thin (ish) strip. When you unfold it use the crease lines to cut strips. On them I wrote a composer name and a song. I haven 't tried it yet, but I am excited to test drive it tomorrow.  I'll have the student pick a slip from the jar and we'll listen to that piece while they fill out a CD listening form (you can find one here ) about the song.
Here's what I have in there so far:
  • Antonio Vivaldi, Four Seasons: Autumn
  • Antonio Vivaldi, Violin Concerto in A minor
  • Johann Sebastian Bach: Minuet in G
  • Johann Sebastian Bach: Prelude and Fugue in G minor
  • George Frideric Handel: Hallelujah Chorus
  • George Frideric Handel: For Unto Us a Child is Born
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Rondo alla Turk
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
  • Ludwig van Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata
  • Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony no. 3
  • Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony no. 9
  • Claude Debussy: Golliwagg's Cake Walk
  • Frederic Chopin: Fantasy Impromptu Op. 66
  • Frederic Chopin: Raindrops Prelude op. 28
  • Dmitri Shostakovich: Fantastic Dance No. 1
  • Claude Debussy: Clair de Lune
There are some more that I want to add, but I don't yet have recordings for, or I can't find the recordings. But I'm excited to see how it works.

I have plans for an couple of new blog posts and series: stay tuned!

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