A typical introductory lesson

In our preschool piano prep we begin our lessons with a brief storytime.  For this age group, the attention span can be so short and sporadic.  So we prepare a ton of small activities, so that we can move on from the ones they lack interest and spend more time on those they find intriguing.  Our lessons following the Wunderkeys programme are designed for individual tuition, with piano lessons on a one to one basis.
However, we can tailor make group lessons where there is demand and this is often a more cost in terms of lesson fees, making them more affordable.  For parents who prefer their children to learn in groups of two, three or four, we tailor make music prep classes, and this requires active participation from all parents.
group piano
While setting up the lesson, the children are free to improvise with solfege pitched deskbells and percussion instruments.  They can also build their own piano by lining up individual white keys and black keys using the fabric piano cut outs.  If it’s a sunny day outside then the children can utilise the chalk on the concrete.
To begin the lesson we read a story together about the Barrel of Songs, an old tale from Lithuania in which we learnt how the owls 🦉 came to get their low and deep song of “hoo, hoo, hoo”.
We play music games and introduce/revise foundational music theory concepts such as p is for piano (soft and quiet) and f is for forte (strong and loud).
Moving on in our lesson on pitch, high and low, I will play random notes on the piano and asked the children to point to the sign which they thought it was. For example, was the note I played to the right of middle C, and therefore a high pitched sound, so did they point to the sign, for the treble clef? Or was the sound I made to the left of middle C and a low sound, in that case, the bass clef.
I played random notes on the piano and asked the children to point to the sign which they thought it was. For example, was it the “p” sign, for soft? Or was the sound I made a loud one, in that case, f for forte.
We introduced the music symbols for pitch and music notation with the treble clef (to indicate the high notes) and the bass clef (to indicate the low notes).
Our preschoolers now know how to recognise the symbols, how to pronounce these words and to associate them to their matching symbols.  (credit to Nicola at Colourful Keys for the paddlesticks signs for the 🐦 =high and the 🐟 =low).
We then progressed onto our “thumbelina” song from #wunderkeys (credit to Teach Piano Today for the music and lyrics and tutor books).  Thumbelina was p=soft right until she decided to count to five and then she became very loud when she used her strong legs to stomp around the room.  She stomped once!  She stomped twice! etc
 By the end of this the children were pronouncing and correctly identifying these symbols.
 After circle time, we all stand up and stretch and then get going as we delve right into our rhythm flow and movement games.
We moved onto movement and along with the action nursery rhymes like “i’m a little teapot”, we also did some rhythm games as the children walked and ran and tiptoed and stomped, as instructed and to the music.
Thanks to Gaylene, an inspirational teacher I shadowed at Lynmore Primary School in Rotorua last year, I discovered Jolly Learning.  Jolly Learning are  known for their groundbreaking resources on phonics which are used internationally from the UK, to NZ and Africa and everywhere else in between.  But did you know that Jolly Learning also produce music resources?  Well they do!  They have a division called Jolly Music.  Jolly Music follow the kodaly approach to music.  In our piano prep class we incorporate activities from both dalcroze and kodaly.
Jolly Music have produced a handy article discussing the distinction between rhythm and pulse, written by Cyrilla Rowsell.  It’s well worth a read!  You can see the full article in pdf from the Jolly Music website link below:-
Source:  ‘Rhythm and Pulse – teaching music to primary-aged children’ by Cyrilla Rowsell, Music Teacher Magazine (UK), Feb 2012, http://jolly2.s3.amazonaws.com/PR/MTM%20Jolly%20Music%20Feb%202012.pdf)

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Published by Alice Letts

Online training for parents and children. Online piano and music tutoring. Online tutoring for English as a Second Language (ESOL) with an emphasis on pronunciation. Online meditation coaching for parents and how to incorporate meditation into daily family life.

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