I hope everyone had a wonder Valentine (or Galentine’s) day this week.  I was going to just share a simple bass clef note reading exercise (saving for another week), but then I ended up with extra interesting stuff because of celebrating the holiday with my students.

So first, I’ll show you the valentines I passed out to my students.  These are courtesy of Joy Morin over at ColorinMyPiano.com.  Joy’s site is a great one for teaching resources, so if you don’t already know it, please check it out!  I added to Joy’s template with some leftover Mardi Gras bracelets that were perfectly suited to the occasion.  My little girl students have been very pleased so far. (Note: I ended up coloring mine in because I was having a printer issue but Joy’s template is colored for you.)

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Second, I used another great resource from Susan Paradis  to create a simple game for beginning young students.  She created this great scavenger hunt where the students hunt for heart shaped cards that have quarter, half note, dotted half notes, and whole notes on the back.  With my 8 year old students (twins), I had them compete to see who could find the most.  At the end, the ones they found only counted if they could name them correctly.  Today with a newly-turned 5 year old who started one week ago, I used the game to have her sort notes that look alike into similar piles.  Then we practiced tapping out the note values together.  Importantly, I didn’t try to explain that this was a quarter note, or that was a half note…instead, I merely lined up the cards into “measures” equalling four beats each and we pointed at the notes as we counted.  She caught on much faster by doing than she might otherwise have so she taught me something today.

My last Valentine’s related activity was created on my own. For adult students, I chose a piece for them to actively listen to and made an accompanying listening worksheet.  For romance, I chose Rachmaninov Symphony No. 2 mvt 3:

For the children, I chose a shorter “romantic” piece – Elgar’s Salut d’Amour.  The children’s assignment was to listen to the piece and then draw a picture of what it made them think of or feel.  I can’t wait to see what they come up with!  Maybe I’ll share a few here.  Here’s the piece, if you’d like to listen:

I remember as a child, I had Itzhak Perlman’s recording Bits and Pieces which contained this piece and I loved it from the beginning.  As an early sufferer of anxiety (which I didn’t recognize as such at the time), this piece just made me melt into relaxation when I felt like I needed a quiet moment.  And I still relax when I hear it today.  So perhaps I’ll pass on the love of the piece (and it’s tension-reducing properties) to my students this week 🙂

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