I just completed my final week of a 6-week piano camp. This is the second one I have done having also done one in the summer. I love doing these camps! I love introducing children to new concepts about music and watching them get excited about learning! For any of you who are thinking about doing a Pre-Piano Camp, here are some things to consider:
1. Have a plan in place and be "over-prepared". I have a plan typed up for every day of camp along with a list of supplies I'll need.
2. Have a back-up plan in case your campers aren't responding to what you thought would work!
3. Plan to change activities every 10 minutes. Four to five year olds have a very short attention span!
4. Have some quiet, calm activities and some that are active. I use movement games and also work with crayons at a table.
5. Do some activities that allow them to bring their results home. I put together an activity book that builds throughout the 6 weeks and also help them make an instrument that we use for rhythm activities. They love showing off what they make and do.
6. Be willing to repeat an activity they loved. It worked so solidify the concept by repeating it and letting them have fun!
7. Allow them to sit at the piano and play songs they've made up! It may alter from your "plan", but they feel great about themselves when you are willing to listen and compliment them. And it encourages improvisation!
8. Recognize that they will have trouble retaining what they just learned at the last session. You need to do a lot of reinforcing so find creative ways to teach the same concepts!
9. Sometimes the simplest things you plan are the most effective. That's not an excuse to get out of putting a plan together, but everything doesn't have to be elaborate. Keep in mind that they're excited to have your attention and to be with other children their age.
10. You will get SO much out your time spent with them. It will inspire you as a teacher and you'll be rewarded with loads of hugs!