Memory game

This week we have the very popular memory game! The kids loved this game in class, and I think it is a fun learning activity for them to do at home while we are all stay in lockdown. I have made them in bass clef and treble clef as well in English and German. Downloads below.

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Flashcards for beginner students

Let’s learn together! #brassbits

One of my goals is to start offering usable materials for communities that might not have adequate resources. As part of this goal, I am starting 2021 with a set of fun games/activities for beginner students who are still learning their note names. There will be one post every week in January focusing on note names and note values. So, starting this off, I have attached a set of flashcards that young beginner students can colour in (a favourite activity here in Germany), and can be used by teachers or parents to help the children remember their note names. We start our students with the Krämer beginner book, and as I have been doing this with my beginner students in their online lessons, the notes are according to this method. There are Treble clef and Bass Clef versions – both are in English and German. Click on the clef and language you prefer. It should download immediately.

Christmas projects

Hello everyone! As we end this year, I thought it would be nice to share a few projects with you.

Germany entered a strict lockdown period during December so we were not allowed to have rehearsals. The various ensembles I am involved in (as conductor or euphonist or trombonist) were super creative and produced some really great online videos. Here they are:

Mini kids – the beginner ensemble at the Orchesterschule Klangvelt. The youngest player is six and the oldest, eleven years of age.

https://fb.watch/2AnXrC9Rsd/

The Jugend Brass Band Blechklang – I am not a firm member of this ensemble, but help out on the various instruments they might need as an ad-hoc performer. It was wonderful seeing how my students rock out in this video!

https://fb.watch/2Ao0O-eZvd/

The Brass Band Band Blechklang – A tradition in Jena, Germany, is carolling from the Town Hall. Unfortunately, this could not happen this year so we went digital.

Have a wonderful festive season!

Keeping the music alive at home

PrintSo amid the isolation, and frustration that might come with that, I have been challenged to think outside the box when it comes to keeping my students motivated. I have also had to confront what I would do if I was a parent stuck at home with no school work, and perhaps trying to keep myself entertained, as well as my younger children. I know my older students are probably okay because they have whatsapp/internet/youtube but the littlest of children might be a little niggly in this situation. So, I have compiled a list of resources I will be using for my ages 5 – 10 students.
The first task is something I am doing to entertain myself and to help my younger solo and ensemble students. I have been making arrangements of well known melodies and creating backing tracks to send to them. This gives me something to do (arranging the music and recording practice videos for the children to play along to) and allows me to give a homework incentive every week. Here are two sites I am using to find the sheet music needed (please remember to check the copyright on melodies):
The second task is setting either a scale to learn, a flexibility exercise, or a tonguing exercise. Make a video of the set task and include it in the video examples. I then upload and send these via google drive.
I also help run the early music education classes and for this I am using a five “senses” model: a warm up dance, a listening activity, a looking activity, a practice activity and a singing activity.
The warm up dance activity includes dancing videos from youtube:
The listening activity is probably the easiest because there is so much out there, but in case you don’t feel like searching, here is something to get you started:
Peter and the Wolf:
Tubby the Tuba:
For the looking activity, I am downloading pictures with different instruments (like the picture above) and then do a “Where is Waldo” or in this case “Where is timpani/trombone/etc” kind of game. In my lesson plan, I use this as an opportunity to explain size, shape and texture of the musical instruments. I also like to link the listening activity to the looking activity and choose video clips of an instrument that I would like to introduce this week and then have the appropriate picture.
We use glockenspiels in our early music education, but for the practice activity, any instrument that makes some kind of sound can work. With this activity, I suggest using the rhythm of a nursery rhyme or well known children songs (this week was “Baby Shark”) and play the rhythm on one note or using a DIY – instrument. If you need some easy “home made instruments” here we go:
More intricate and colourful – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sUNXA4NYKI
The “sing – a – long songs” for the singing activity come from here:
This is a nice way to end the little lesson plan.
Feel free to contact me with your own resources or if you need anymore help. I am planning on continuing these different tasks with my students as quarantine continues and will be happy to share what I have with you.
Stay safe and healthy!