Tag Archives: Games

3 Resources I’m Loving: For Piano Lessons

5 Sep

In my summer blog series, 3 Resources I’m Loving, I’m sharing my favorite 3 resources at the moment for different purposes! Check out my last post about Summer Visuals.

September means back to school, which also means that it’s finally PIANO LESSON TIME! I’ve been having a blast creating new visuals, songs and activities to support my adaptive piano lessons and have really found myself excited to teach piano–something I never thought I’d say. I spent most of my days as a student avoiding the piano like the plague (no, seriously–you wouldn’t believe the excuses I’ve given to avoid playing it in public!), but have really fallen in love with it over the past year. I use the piano daily in my music therapy sessions and have been feeling totally inspired for all the lessons I’ve been teaching. I thought I’d share 3 of my favorite things to use right now in my piano lessons.

photo (6)1. Hand/Desk Bell Set. GUYS. If you don’t have a handbell set or xylophone, go get one right now!!!!! These bells have been a huge source of motivation for my kiddos. Beginning students can use them to play their songs, learn solfege and practice note identification. It’s super easy to color-code visuals to match (I have little fish I like to use…this is also great for working on color matching, visual tracking, etc).

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset2. VISUALS! LOTS AND LOTS OF VISUALS! I can’t stress this enough–a good visual can totally make or break teaching a new concept. I have basic piano keys/staffs with velcro to work on note learning and identification, rhythm value cheat sheets, solfege visuals and more. For some quick downloads, see the post about my much-requested lesson game, Miss Kerry’s Musical Melee, and click on the links for the rhythm and note cards.

photo (6)3. FUN APPS! For new piano students, I highly recommend Tune Train. Your students will looooove composing their own song by extending the train track and hearing it played back to them paired with different musical styles (hip hip, pop, classical, etc). It’s a great way to introduce concepts like harmony and pitch while also working on fine motor skills (isolating one finger to draw the line) and decision-making. Other fan favorites are Flash Note Derby and NotateMe Now.

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Activity Inspiration: Starvin’ Marvin the Turkey

18 Nov

Just a few more days until I’m off to Jacksonville, FL to experience my first American Music Therapy Association National Conference! I’m so excited to meet and learn from music therapists from around the country (and to escape the cold Maryland weather for some Florida sun—woo hoo!). Before I go, I want to share a silly little Thanksgiving song that my internship supervisor and I wrote together called “Starvin’ Marvin.”

For this activity, your clients can practice impulse control, counting, following directions, turn taking and motor skills as they listen to the song lyrics and toss beanbags into Starvin’ Marvin the turkey’s mouth. Don’t be afraid to be silly—I love to make Marvin dance and often make sound effects to go along with the song (stomach rumbling, gobbling and sometimes he even says, “FEEEEEEED ME!”). You can even have clients volunteer to make Marvin move and talk–but be prepared for LOTS of giggles! This activity could also be a simple craft to make at home to keep your kids occupied and having fun on a rainy November day. Pre-cut the box, have them design and draw the turkey on it and then, voila! You have a new game to add to your collection.

All you’ll need to make your turkey is a small cardboard box, scissors and my turkey face template (included below). I cut a large hole in the front of the box and glued the turkey face together on the top. I also had some left over feathers from another activity, so I glued those on the back of the box to give him a cute tail. Let your creativity run wild with this one!

P1020532During the song, encourage your clients to wait until the count of three to toss their bean bags into Marvin’s mouth.  Depending on client needs, I either hold the turkey close to the client so they can easily put their bean bag inside his mouth or set it up further away if they are able to toss the bean bag. Repeat the bean bag toss as many times as desired and be sure to encourage lots of gobbling and wing flapping from clients who are waiting for their turn! Once each client has had a chance to “feed” Marvin, have everyone speak for him and say “Thank you” by using their voices, sign language or AACs—whatever works best for each client.

Below is a recording of “Starvin’ Marvin” and a free PDF of my turkey face template. I hope you have a blast making your own turkey and implementing this activity with your clients and children!

Starvin’ Marvin PDF