We have been getting a serious blast of winter lately. Last week, for the first time in a decade, we were able to skate on the ponds in our neighborhood. Our sleds, which usually collect dust in our crawlspace all winter, have been rocketing down any hill we can find. And of course, snowmen have been built in front of our house.
So it only seemed natural to share a snowman-themed improv activity that is easy, guaranteed to work and quick to prep. Use it as a mid-lesson break if you’re in the throes of perfecting some “tough stuff” or as a “Welcome! We’re going to have some fun!” activity to start your lesson off with some creativity. However you incorporate it, it’s sure to result in smiles 🙂
Piano Improv With McDrip The Slushy Snowman
This improv activity provides just the right amount of structure to result in a successful first foray into improvising. Your student will have a hoot providing the melody line to your teacher accompaniment. Here is how it works:
Step 1: Print our McDrip The Slushy Snowman Improv Pack found here.
Step 2: Have your piano students practice saying and clapping each of McDrip’s snowman phrases. These phrases provide the rhythm your students will be using for their improv parts. If you have creative kiddos who want more freedom, we have included three blank cards so they can create their own sayings/rhythms.
Step 3: Have your students choose two of the cards that they like best.
Step 4: With their hands in C position, have your students experiment with various combinations of notes to match the rhythms selected (using only C, D, E, F and G). When they find a combination they like… make sure they remember it! Do this for each of the two cards.
Step 5: Start your teacher accompaniment (play one octave lower than written). When your students feel ready to hop in, they can begin playing (in an octave that doesn’t interfere with your part). First have them play just one of their rhythm/melody combinations over and over until they’re comfortable. Then, have them add in the second. Encourage your students to practice alternating between the two combinations.
Step 6: Once you’re jamming away without a care, have your students experiment with adding more card combinations, extra notes, creating mini-melodies “on the fly”, adding harmonic intervals or chords, and changing the articulation. The sky’s the limit… be creative!
Collect All Of Our Improv Activities
We’ve created improv activities for most of the seasons… many of them are in the coming months! Print, pin or save these for those times when your kiddos are begging for a change!