YQA: Light but Fun Composing Ideas for Summer

This post is part of a series called Your Questions Answered that highlights questions that readers like yourself have asked of me over the last few years. 

This question was posed in reaction to another Your Questions Answered post regarding Summers Lesson and Curriculum.

 

Love-love-love your posts they are so helpful.

Like you, I’m getting ready for Summer Lessons. I try to change things up for the Summer and this year I’m introducing more about composing. I started introducing this the last semester of this year but I want to do a lot more over the Summer.

What ideas do you have to teach composing on a light level but keeping it fun?

What other kinds of things do you do over the Summer?

Also, I have two 4 -year old girls starting this Summer any really fun ideas for them?

Sorry I know that’s a lot of questions but you always have great ideas.

Thanks Again,

Frances

 

​​Hi, Frances!

​A few resources I’ve used in the past include:

​The main thing I think is important is giving them small parameters such as what meter, how many measures, key, mood, etc., and to keep them short. Many of these resources do just that.

​As far as your second question goes regarding fun ideas for 4-year old beginners, the first thing that comes to mind is to spend a lot of time off-bench singing and moving and doing activities such as drawing a picture that “sounds like this little song we’re going to learn”.

My favorite tool for preschool students is Music Moves for Piano’s Keyboard Games Book A. The pieces are very short – only 4 measures and focus on students simply playing to a beat and learning patterns – not reading notes. You will likely want to purchase the teacher book as well however if it’s your first time trying the series.

I’ve also used with success in the past resources from both Trevor and Andrea Dow’s Wunderkeys and Faber’s My First Piano Adventures however, Music Moves remains my favorite because it encourages the most “musicing.” That is, singing and movement, not just reading notes.

I hope this gives you a little bit of a springboard for some more ideas! Congrats on the new students and good luck!

~Amy

 


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Book of Student Compositions

Free Printable

Recently I put together a book of my student’s compositions to display in my studio.

When visiting my friend Joy Morin’s studio during her piano teacher retreat, I noticed a book of student compositions she had sitting in her waiting area and thought it was a fun idea! She also wrote about it in a blog post about composing with beginner and elementary students. (It mentions the book of students compositions at the end of the post.)

Today I’m giving you a free printable of the binder cover I created so you can create your own book as well!

 

Why a Book of Compositions?

A few students in my studio absolutely love composing. Luckily, our state MTA hosts a composition festival every year called “Opus” where students can submit a composition and receive feedback from a judge. The winner in each age category then gets their composition submitted to the MTNA Composition Competition for free and gets to perform their composition at the next state conference in the winners’ recital.

Students put so much time and effort into their pieces, displaying them keeps their work present and valued. It’s also a great way to help generate awareness of not only the Opus program but in composing in general. Students could sit down at one of the studio keyboards and play through each other’s music!

 

A Glimpse of the Book

Keeping it simple, I used a 1″ 3-ring binder. Each composition was printed and placed in plastic sleeve covers. Compositions that were winners got an award seal sticker on it and I wrote the year it was the winning composition.

If you happened to catch the Facebook Live studio tour series recently, I showed a peek into this book on the day 3 tour starting at 5:55 in the video.


Download the Cover