Monday, March 18, 2013

An Irish Group Lesson

I realize we are now passed St. Patricks Day, but I thought I would share a bit about what I did at my group lessons last week.  In the spirit of the holiday and as a link to this year's studio incentive, I wanted to have a bit of a "green" lesson with the focus on rhythm.  Most of my students are close to or just beyond the rhythm challenge so I wanted it to be the focus. 

To begin the day, we started with a rhythm game that focused on everyone's first name.  It amazes me how kids can spend so much time together over years and still forget each other's names!  So I wanted to work on that as well!  I didn't get a picture of this because I had to lead the activity, but hopefully I can describe it well enough...

To begin, we all stood together in a circle.  I had two group lessons this week; the largest group was 15 students and this game worked for both groups.  I started out tapping a steady rhythm on my thighs and asked them to join in.  We quickly had a nice steady beat going.  Then I started saying each student's first name in beat, pointing to them as I went along.  Once they got the hang of it, I stopped saying their name and just pointed to them, expecting them to say their name instead.  Once they could do this well, the fun really began!  I would randomly point to someone and their challenge was to say their name without missing a beat and within the steady rhythm.  I got really silly with them and pointed back and forth sometimes going between two students several times or even repeating a student over and over.  If they missed it or lost the rhythm, they were out of the game and had to sit.  The last one standing won the game.  My students LOVED this and we actually played it again at the end of the group lesson!

After that I showed them three YouTube Videos:
The "Irish Washerwoman"
"Amazing Grace" by the Celtic Woman
A performance by Riverdance
We talked about various styles of Irish music and these videos showed them a variety.  We also talked about the rhythm of each video and how the performers had to work together to keep a steady beat.  They enjoyed watching all three of them as they were just short/long enough to keep their attention.
From there, we worked specifically on note values.  I divided each group into students of the same level so I had three groups.  I then showed each group rhythm cards where they had to add or subtract the note values to come up with the total beats.  The challenge?  They had to be the first to shout out the correct beat in order to win a gold coin.  The cards were easier or harder depending upon the students level.   They really enjoyed this and worked hard to be the first one to shout out the answer.  I must say it got a bit loud, but they had fun!  There was a lot of laughter and excitement!  I didn't make anything extra for this game, just used cards I already had in the studio.
The other game we played involved this fellow!
Not Chopin, but the cute little guy in the front!  We played Irish Hot Potato!  I went to the piano and played the "Irish Washerwoman" and just like the first video we watched, the tempo gradually increased.  Their job was to pass the hot potato in rhythm and try not to be the last one holding it when the music stopped!  Again, another fun game they loved.
We also had a quick photo shoot...
These glasses are always a hit and as you can see, I have a quite a few "hams" in my studio!  After the photo shoot they enjoyed some holiday inspired cupcakes I made before going home.  All of that easily took 90 minutes. 
It's amazing how fast the time goes when you're having this much fun!

1 comment:

Anne CROSBY GAUDET said...

Sounds like fun, especially Irish hot potato!