All the way back in week 4, we had a “Coordination Challenge”, which involved lots of brain balancing movements and writing up a variety of musical symbols on the white board.
The students used a variety of movements which ‘cross the midline’ of the body, helping both sides of the brain work well together. Some of these movements were very challenging for the students! We did Cross Crawling (opposite hand to knee as you march), Disco Walking (opposite hand & foot out to each side), Reverse Cross Crawling (opposite hand to foot behind the body), Elbow to Knee Cross Crawling.
We practiced drawing Treble Clefs, Ta, Bass Clefs and how to draw two groups of ‘ti-ti’s in two different and correct ways.
We then moved onto the piano to play the tunes we were working on, with a special twist….
One of the ways I like to develop the use of dynamics (loud & soft, fast & slow etc), is to introduce students to the Magic Music Maker.
It’s a colourful board with various dynamics and ways of playing (in the musical language of Italian) pasted around the edges. The students spin to find out how they are to play their piece next.
Most of the children LOVE this way of practicing. It adds interest, and students can often play their piece multiple times without getting too tired or bored! This extra playing time is obviously great for learning, yet the students are also developing skill in playing with musical ‘feeling’ (that’s what dynamics are all about), and fine motor skill development through learning how hard/ soft to press the keys, and playing slowly or quickly.