Tag Archives: Piano Lessons

It’s Turkey Time: 7 Gobble-Worthy Activity Ideas

18 Nov

November = TURKEY TIME!!! I like using turkeys as a session theme because they’re cute, can be used in endless ways and are great for speech goals (can I get a gobble, gobble?). Below are some of my favorite turkey-themed activities to use this time of year.

1. Feather Decorating: This is a nice art and music activity I like for self-expression and tactile experiences. We listen to Copland’s “Hoedown” and decorate turkey feathers with different sensory materials like feathers and stickers.

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2. Turkey Drumming: This is a simple drum activity that I love for attention, impulse control, following directions, and speech goals. I sing it to the tune of “Turkey in the Straw”, but simplified the words so my kids could really focus on just saying “turkey” and “gobble”. I usually line up three tall drums and have kids strike each drum in order on the “1-2-3” beat that follows each line. With groups, I will give everyone their own drum and either choose a soloist to come play the big drums or ask for volunteers to sing the gobbles into the microphone.

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3. Pass the Turkey: My most heavily used visual during turkey season is my turkey beanie baby! He’s the perfect size for passing around a circle or even for perching on a drum or piano during sessions. The kids love him!

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4. Turkey Songwriting Cards: I made my own turkey flash cards this year to use for songwriting with bells, boomwhackers and xylophones. My piano students totally dig writing their own turkey song with the cards then performing it on the bells. I’ve also been using them for math goals as well as color identification and matching. Download them for FREE! All you have to do is color them in. 🙂

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5. Starvin’ Marvin: He’s basically a celebrity to my kiddos. Everyone wants to meet Marvin, is always very concerned about how hungry he is (When I pulled him out the other day, one kiddo said “Miss Kerry!!!!!! He’s REALLY hungry—he looks a little faint.”) and loves “feeding” him by tossing bean bags in his mouth.

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No time to learn the song? This also works great with “Let’s Turkey Trot” by Little Eva.

6. Rachel Rambach’s “Turkey Dinner Dance”: This one is always a hit and is a great way to work on gross motor movement. Plus, it’s pretty darn catchy!

7. Turkey Dance Party: Straw hats optional! Check out some of my favorite hoe-down dance songs below that will get your clients do-si-do-ing.

Hoedown Throwdown (Miley Cyrus):

Bonus points for learning/teaching the dance:

Cotton Eye Joe (Rexnex)

Turkey in the Straw (Tennessee Mafia Jug Band)

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Super Supplemental: Piano Practice Chart

30 Sep

Let’s face it—it can be frustrating when our students don’t practice. We want our students to be successful in learning and growing their musical skills, but that can be hard to do if the only time they’re working on those skills is one time a week during their lessons. Doh! For students with additional challenges, practicing can be even more difficult to conquer. I always make a big point of working with each my students to teach them not only what to practice, but how to practice. I’ve started making practice charts for each of my students, and it has made a world of a difference!

Each chart has two standard parts: a place to list assignments/songs to work on, then the log portion (aka THE FUN PART!). Each time a student practices during the week, they color in one picture. It’s up to your discretion as a teacher to figure out how many times you want your students to practice during the week and for how long. I often start small and then gradually increase the amount of practice each month to phase in the concept of practicing regularly.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetThe great thing about creating your own practice chart is that you can personalize it for each student in a jiffy. I guarantee that your piano students are going to be WAY more likely to practice if something they love is on their chart—legos, cars, animals, Disney characters…anything works, as long as it’s motivating. One of my kiddos loves Frozen, so BAM! Each week, she gets to color in pictures of her favorite Frozen characters. If she practices 5 times during the week and colors all of her cute little pictures in, she gets a big version to color as a reward. 🙂

Enjoy this {FREE} download of my piano practice chart (which works great for older kids), or simply use it as inspiration to make your own! What are your must-have tools for your piano students when it comes to practicing?

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Miss Kerry’s Musical Melee: For Music Lessons

23 Jun

For many of my adapted piano lesson students, sitting at the piano for 30 minutes can be really challenging. I always try to keep our sessions fun and engaging by bringing in other instruments like desk bells or boomwhackers, getting up and moving around or even playing games! My latest creation, Miss Kerry’s Musical Melee, has been an absolute hit with my clients and is now something they ASK for at the end of our sessions.

 The main concepts of my game are:

  • Clapping 4 beat rhythms
  • Music note identification (naming the note as well as finding it on the piano)
  • Solfege with hand signs
  • Basic composition of melodic and rhythmic lines

The rules? Players roll a dice and select a card based on the color of the space they land on.  Cards will prompt players to clap rhythms, ID note names or complete a challenge card (i.e., play notes on the piano, sing their solfege, compose a 4 beat song). When players reach the end of the board, they have to complete one challenge card to finish the game!

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What You’ll Need:

  • File Folder
  • Laminator (because…well, you should know by this point that EVERYTHING I own is laminated!)
  • Game Board
  • Playing Cards (create your own or print the ones below)
  • Game Pieces
  • Dice or Spinner
  • Ziploc Bags

I liked this game board template at The School Supply Addict and decided to color it in myself to match the construction paper I had on hand. However, if you google “game board templates” you’ll be able to find a bunch to suit your needs, whatever they may be!

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I used these basic rhythm flashcards found at Susan Paradis: Piano Teaching Resources because they were cute, small and portable. You could also try these rhythm cards found at Layton Music.

I also used these music note ID flash cards from Making Music Fun, and plan to repurpose them for all of my music lessons.

**FREE ALERT!** I made my own challenge cards, rules sheet and cover page, which you can download for FREEEEEEE here: Miss Kerry’s Musical Melee.

If you’re a traveling music therapist like me, you’re going to want your game to be compact without a lot of pieces. Divide your cards up into Ziploc bags, clip them into your file folder (bonus points if your paper clips double as your playing pieces!) and download a Dice App like this one. Now, you’re ready to go!

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Miss Kerry’s Musical Melee is definitely a beginner level game, but it could easily be adapted for any skill level or age by increasing the difficulty of the questions and topics covered. Feel free to adapt as needed—I’d love to hear how you use it with your clients. HAVE FUN!

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