Generally, when teachers engage piano students with off-the-bench activities, the purpose is to let them learn a musical concept in different and novel ways. Not all kids learn by listening to instructions, so getting them off the bench allows teachers to appeal to visual and kinesthetic learners.
But off-the-bench activities don’t just have to be about teaching… they can be about assessing too. Students can develop coping strategies that can be tricky to discover at the piano, so assessing knowledge away from the piano can give teachers an added insight into a student’s struggles.
If you’re looking to both reinforce and assess your piano student’s note-reading abilities, then today’s DIY Note-Reading Necklaces may be just what you need. And, if you’re following along with our St. Patrick’s Day-themed activities… it ties in perfectly with the “rainbow theme”… can you say. “teaching hero”?
How To Make Note-Reading Necklaces
If you follow our blog, then you’ll know that we love easy-to-make, definitely-don’t-have-to-be-crafty, DIY piano teaching ideas. For today’s activity all you’ll need is a bag of rainbow-colored beads from your local dollar store and some string.
Here’s how it works:
- To begin, you’ll need a necklace-sized piece of string, an assortment of colored beads and your student’s current piano piece.
- Tie a knot on one end of the string so the beads will not fall off as they are placed on the necklace.
- Create a “Color Legend” for your beads. Assign a different colored bead for each note in your student’s piece. For example; A = red, B = green, C = blue, D = yellow etc.
- In your student’s piano piece choose either the treble staff or the bass staff as your focus (it works best if you choose the one that contains the most notes).
- Have your student name the first note in the piece and then place the corresponding bead color on her necklace. For example, if the first note is C she places a blue bead on her necklace (according to the legend above).
- Repeat Step 5 until your student has reached the end of her piano piece. Tie the necklace ends together and send your student home with her bead necklace as a visual representation of her piece!
Pssst.. don’t forget to take a picture to show off your innovative teaching techniques (but post only with parental permission). Tag us @teachpianotoday so we can see too!