A few days ago I started researching games we can play in centers at my daughter’s grade school for her Valentine’s Class Party. As a room mother, I have a responsibility to make the party FUN but as a teacher I’m always hoping to sneak in some learning too! I saw the cutest game on pinterest here from the blog a very fruitful tree and thought it might work for the classroom party, and then realized it would be perfect for my studio.
I have ages 3-adult and Violin and Piano students (and one Viola-and I swear this is the last Viola student!) in my studio so I’m always trying to come up with one easy idea for my “specials week” that will work for ALL of these diverse students!
Each month I look at what composer birthdays, special events or holidays are coming up and plan my special weeks around those themes. We have a frog week and a duck week in the spring and sharp week is always very popular! I want my students to learn, however I get to be the” strict-play-it-perfectly-and-memorized type teacher” when I can also pull off some amazing fun games and events for my students. I truly believe that the lesson should be their favorite day of the week, but I also try to cram as much theory/history/technique and learning material into lessons as possible as well…which leads me to the greatness of my latest game…
“A Musical Minute to Win it!”
My preface to the game is that It doesn’t have to take a minute to win it if you have younger kids. Plan on 3- 5 minutes. Older kids will like the challenge of completing the game in a time frame. Don’t forget you have a timer on your cell phone so no need to go out and buy a digital or sand timer just for this game. If you have a board game with a sand timer like boggle, you may want to borrow that for this special week.
To get a FREE .pdf of this game, just sign up for my monthly newsletters in the annoying popup box when you browse or leave this page. Because I’m only sending out newsletters once monthly, you can also leave your email in the comments and I’ll keep your email unpublished and get you the .pdf right away so you can use this TODAY in your studio!
Materials you will need:
- Timer (remember you cell phone has one)
- Print out of the game board (or you can also load it up on your tablet)
- Bag of Hershey’s Kisses in Valentine’s Colors
- Bag of M & M’s in Valentine’s Colors
- Bag of Dum Dum Suckers
- Dry Erase Marker and Plastic Page Protector (optional)
If you want to save money and paper, load the .pdf into your tablet, or print one game board for all of your students and laminate or slip into a good quality plastic sheet protector. You CAN print one sheet for each student if their parents like to have tangible proof of what you did at the lesson!
The first part of this game is M & M Notes. I place 9 M & M’s on the game board. Then I decide how the student will earn them.
Ideas for Piano Students:
For my littlest 3 & 4 year old piano students, I have Pink M & M’s be 2 black keys, Red M & M’s be 3 black keys and White M & M’s be the note D. To earn the candy they have to play the correct notes on the keyboard. For an older piano student you might have them play Group 1 Keys C F and G notes or Chords or Arpeggios or Scales…. or whatever is appropriate to their learning level.
Ideas for Violin Students:
For my baby beginner violin students Pink Candies stand for open G string Red for A White for E, ect. For a student who needs note name reinforcement we made pinks be F natural, Red stand for G natural and White stand for C natural. The only trick was she couldn’t play the same note (in the same octave) twice unless she shifted to a different position. I plan on my advanced students playing various 3 octave scales to earn their candy.
Next we have “Draw a Valentines Heart Treble Clef”
This is my own invention, simply a treble clef with a heart somewhere in it….they can be creative and there are no wrong answers on this. I am having my students draw not on the game board, but on this “boogie board.’ I’m really trying to save on paper this year!
Next we Go to Naming a Loved One of any composer. For my baby beginners I can hold up mozart mouse and nannerl mouse and ask who did mozart love?
Older students will have the funniest answers and try to remember all the bits of history you’ve been infusing in their lessons! If you aren’t giving some nuggets of music history gold at your lessons, check out these great books that have beautiful illustrations and great information:
Next we have the “One Handed Kiss!” Have your students put one hand behind their back and open the hershey’s kiss with one hand! It’s harder than it looks and great fine motor practice for little ones! My 3 year old boy student wasn’t happy with me at ALL today when we did this at his lesson but he did enjoy his tasty reward and all was forgiven!
Last we name a Romantic Era Composer. Every year around Valentine’s day I talk about the Romantic Era and select some pieces for my students to play, so I might remind them to think back of what they played the previous year. For little students, I whip out my Clara Schumann Cat and they of course get the right answer!
At the end I tell them Great Job, you’re no Dum Dum! Then they can take their sucker home as a treat.
Now the hardest part of your Valentine Plans will be to NOT eat all the students’ candy!
Thanks for reading my blog. I love to inspire and work with teachers to help them be creative and successful! If you’re interested in more ideas, please check out my book available on any device (computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone, ipad, iphone) from Amazon.com.60 Day Makeover: Music Teacher Edition
If you need some serious help/motivation, I also offer low cost consulting on weekday mornings, and you can find out more info about that here: https://violinjudy.com/joyful-noise-consulting/
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