One of the first things I encourage is freedom at the piano. I have 3 campers this time and each week they get very excited to play a song for me. So one of the first things I do is let them each take a turn at the piano playing and singing for me! It's absolutely adorable! They usually sing a song they know and play any key they feel like to go with it. It's usually very short and they are VERY proud of themselves!
We read a music story and sometimes have a couple of stuffed animals that match our story characters...and of course, those animals must play the piano as well!
Each week, we go through several areas:
Technique - We work at learning left and right hands and learning finger numbers. This is done through several games and activities so that by the end of the camp they are very solid in both these areas.
Musical Alphabet - If they already know the alphabet, getting them to realize that after G we start over with A instead of continuing on with H becomes the focus. We practice this and then practice it backwards! I include some worksheets, games and flashcards to reinforce the alphabet.
Ear Training - We do some simple identifying of Highs and Lows, and volume terms - Forte and Piano. This part of the class means lots of "wiggling" and movement. I also do a fun activity with the volume terms where they get to be the "teacher"!
Keyboard Activity - This is where we spend time at the piano. We learn the notes, play songs on the black and white keys and do fun activities with manipulatives.
Rhythm - Here the focus is steady beat and learning to recognize quarter notes, half notes, & whole notes and the number of beats they represent. We use lots of rhythm instruments and CDs with fun rhythmic songs and even make our own simple rhythm instruments. We also practice drawing notes on worksheets and white boards.
Storytime - As mentioned earlier, I use this time to introduce music in a fun way. I've searched out lots of books and try to read those that are in keeping with what we are working on. I also use them to work on listening skills.
The bottom line - I want them to have fun, LOVE music and desire to learn more. Since there is a week between each class, reinforcing becomes very important so planning different activites using the same concepts is important. I love doing this camp. There is something really special about being the first one to introduce them to musical learning. If you haven't tried doing a Pre-Piano camp, I highly recommend trying it!