Beat Blocks in private studios
I taught piano for 9 years, then I stopped to be around home more. Now I started again - sound familiar? I think many of us public school educators find a private studio in our lives at one time or another. Well, today I taught a bunch of kids worn out from their day right around dinner time. How did I keep them engaged and working towards goals while having fun? That's right - I just pulled out some Beat Blocks.
Because my students are very early beginners, we kept it simple with quarter notes and half notes. We talked about those big numbers on the page (piano book writers - kids don't get or care about time signatures when they're 7) and of course they couldn't describe it in their own words. BUT.... seeing that there's a big 4 meant we take out the 4 beat base. And when we discovered that 4 quarter notes fit on it - ah ha! THAT is what a time signature stands for. They composed a quick rhythm, we spoke it, clapped it, played it on one note, and 30 seconds later we were improvising melodies around C as a tonic. We played it on the right hand, we played it on the left hand. We played it with BOTH hands. I played a little melodic question, then they answered.... and I snuck in the melodic themes of the song on the next page so it was familiar before we got there. The time flew by!
I'll be bringing my chord packs next week for my older student studying chords and arpeggios!