On the weekend, Maestro and I held two intermediate group classes for the piano kids. Although I'm sure we all would have loved to sleep in on Saturday, it seemed like everyone was having a good time. There were seven junior intermediate students in the morning class. They introduced themselves by setting their names to a rhythm and joining in one person at a time. The polyrhythms meshed together nicely.
The kids then played a song they are currently working on - a kind of "show and tell". The student in the audience, armed with markers, wrote down words or sketched something to describe what they were hearing. Two students played their songs twice - once according to the original score and a second time with their version; a shy pixie who played The Mouse in the Coal Bin by Charles Peerson and one of my hardest working students played The Prowling Pussy Cat by William Gillock. They succeeded in their performances as the others described them as "sneaky", "sly" and "mysterious."
The afternoon class was comprised of four of my senior intermediate students. They enjoyed playing with the Boomwhackers (far more than they enjoyed playing for each other). I jotted down the letter names of the notes to a famous tune on the whiteboard, such as Aloha, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Mary Had a Little Lamb. Each student was in charge of two notes. Without speaking, they had to sightread the notes and come in at the right time. We had to repeat the songs a few times before they became recognizable, but it was a fun process.
Maestro was in seventh heaven. He managed to steal the bongo drums a couple of times in class and play them with his paws. He has this "scratch, scratch, pat, pat, arf arf, flip the drums over"rhythm that he likes. He snagged the tambourine once as well. Yes, Maestro is a bit of a show off.
I wish my piano teachers held group classes when I was younger. The social interaction and the music games really get the kids going. At the end of the last class, I overheard one of my students asking the rest of the students for their e-mail addresses so they could keep in touch.
Now that's a great idea.
Boomwhackers and Resources:
Boom 'n' Tunes: Just for Fun By Linda Forrest. For Boomwhackers, Unison choir. Novelty. Book and accompaniment CD. Published by Heritage Music Press (LO.30-1946H)
(c) 2007 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.