Teaching Music to Kids — notes and rhythm

For many years, we did kindermusik classes. It was a wonderful mix of dancing, playing instruments, singing, learning about rhythm and more.  When that finally came to an end — our friends moved away :(  – we spent the semester just working a bit on piano, singing songs (here’s a link to a kids song packet I put together for the kids this past summer). But I really wanted to go back and put in some formal music instruction again so that the kids really learn how to read music, know the basic music symbols (various rests, treble clef, base clef, repeat sign, etc.), note values and things like that.  Plus, I wanted to make a concerted effort to listen to more classical music again.

Last week, we had our first lesson. I’ll tell you a bit about what we did and some of the incredible (free) music resources we used:

First we started with some sandpaper symbols that I made years ago. At the time, we were doing a lot of Montessori style work in our homeschool and I cut the music notes and symbols out of sandpaper and glued them onto a black base. We compared the whole note, half note and quarter note to fraction tile pieces we have for math.  Once they had all the symbols down I had them close their eyes and match the half note, whole note, quarter note, etc. to the correct fraction piece.

Next we brought out some large staff paper and used a circular disc to review the notes. We used the mnemonic… Every Good Boy Does Fine for the notes on the lines … and the saying “There’s a FACE in the space” for the notes in the spaces.  I printed out this large staff paper from here, but I’m sorry to say I don’t know who gets credit for making it. We spent quite a bit of time finding various notes… “put your disc on the A” …

We printed out a couple of music practice pages from Susan Paradis’s incredible website.  The kids had to cover all the middle C notes — and all the Ds:

You can find the sheets pictured below at Susan Pardis’s website: Search and Find Middle C or Search and Find D:

We finished up with a couple of her worksheets to practice drawing the notes (quarter note, half note, whole note) and the finger numbers (for piano), which I wanted to review for ED since she (and the others) are learning to play the piano.

I highly, highly recommend Susan Paradis website if you are teaching music and are looking for some free resources.  Here is the link to some of Susan Paradis’ music worksheets or spend time reading her blog!

That was all we had time for that day… but we’ll be continuing on with these music lessons once a week or so (that’s in addition to the 10-minutes a day the kids spend practicing the piano).

You might also be interested in the kids music packet I mentioned above: I still pull out the guitar and sing these with the kids… and love when I catch them singing these on their own!  They’re all the classic songs I grew up with like I’ve Been Working on the Railroad, Molly Mallone, etc. It’s about 10 pages.

I also made up a packet of patriotic songs with more traditional American songs likeYankee Doodle, America the Beautiful, and Home on the Range.

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