Group: 2 children, age 6
Catcerto by Nora the Cat and Orchestra
Kittens listening to guitar
Puppy listening to guitar
Listened to Irina Kulikova play Kramskoy’s Folk Variations and guessed what the piece was about. Got some accurate answers: farm, forest, cows…!
A game of tic-tac-toe with a guitar activity in between each turn.
Played Cuckoo together and then learned See-Saw (D-B DD-B DD-BB DD-B). One child made a see-saw with his arms, and the other played, then the kids switched. Everyone sang along: See-saw, up and down, in the sky and on the ground.
Spelled the word CABBAGE with guitar sounds. Parents named the letters, the kids played. So, this is what C-A-B-B-A-G-E sounds like!
Put on our performance gear (a music cape and a music scarf) and played the following pieces:
Batman (focused on watching the nods) 3 times
Mississippi Hotdog on open G-B-E-B (Aka “Smoothie Stop” by MaryLou Roberts)
Twinkle Variation A (focused on playing along no matter what, tapped the beat, stopping the sound, bowing to the applause)
Came up with a band name! Tiger Bandits.
Talented composer and guitarist from Vancouver Michael Bemmels writes Confectionary Sonata inspired by three nursery rhymes: “The Muffin Man,” “Hot Cross Buns,” and “Pat-a-Cake.” Watch here! Can you recognize the songs?
To start off, here is a tool for note learning called Note Houses, that I began using a few months ago, after watching some videos of the (highly regarded by me) piano teacher Valeri Pyasetski. I have been drawing these with my students aged 5-10, and so far the results have been pretty good. My 6-year-old returned the week after we did the drawings, and proudly announced, “I learned a new piece from the book all by myself, because I had my houses! I didn’t need you!” Doesn’t every teacher live to hear that…
You tell them that the notes are windows in the house and that the houses are on the same street (treble clef). Of course, it works to place all the notes on the staff in one house – there are many variations. It’s the relatable context that I like in this concept. It’s easy to talk about houses and windows and neighbours and friends.
Once you have the treble notes down, you flip the paper and draw the Bass Clef houses (or whatever other clef you are learning.
Here are a couple of versions, with and without note heads.