Are you looking for a gift for a music loving kid? These games teach sightreading, composing, and pattern recognition. These are great supplements for students enrolled in piano, guitar, voice, ukulele, and drum lessons.
You don’t have to know how to write music or even own an instrument to be a world-class composer. Created by the ever-famous composer and cellist, Maestro Philip Sheppard, Compose Yourself teaches children as young as six to play with music. To create your own melody, arrange cards in a visual pattern, enter the codes with our music making software atComposeYourself.ThinkFun.com, and hear your piece played by a full symphony orchestra at Abbey Roads Studios. Then flip, rotate, rearrange and even add more cards to create your very own masterpiece.
The Award Winning Symphony Blocks ($79.95) These blocks can be rearranged to play a million different melodies, teaching children about music, shapes, and colors. A recipient of the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Blue Chip Classic Award, it consists of five blocks that can be placed in any order into the sturdy base. Each side of each block plays a different phrase of music when pressed, while hitting the big red button on the front runs through all five phrases in sequence. A flip of a switch changes the music from a classical, symphonic performance to swinging jazz to drum-filled African rhythms.
Play music on the go with this fun and creative roll-up rainbow piano from Mukikim. With cool features like demo songs, multiple keyboard tones and a built-in speaker, this roll-up piano is perfect for you to rock and roll your way anytime, anywhere.
Summer break comes with schedule and routine changes for students. There are many questions about continuing with music lessons over the summer, going to summer camps, and practicing over trips.
If you plan to be in town for most of the summer, it can be beneficial for your student stick with music lessons throughout the summer or attend a music camp likeCreative Arts Camp. Any time a student spends away from an instrument will be time they have to spend regaining their skills when they start back-up.
If you are going to be traveling or in day camps all summer students can maintain their current skills by practicing their past year's material. Make a list of 5-10 of their favorite songs and encourage them to sit at the piano once a day to review. This is a great time to memorize familiar repertoire.
If you decide to stick with lessons over the summer it's nice to take on special projects. If there's a more difficult your child has been dying to learn you could decide with your teacher to stop working out of the book and work on 8 bars of that song every week. If your child enjoys composing music, your teacher can help your child compose their own song and even record it. This is also a great time for your child to get together with friends and play as a band.
Many parents ask what they should do about music practice when they are on vacation. The answer depends on the nature of your trip, how long you will be gone, and your child's preference. If you are going on a short vacation where you will be busy everyday it's most likely best to take a break from practice. Sometimes a week's break can be good for a practice routine, and your child will come back with more inspiration and focus.
If you are going on a trip where you'll have more free time it can be fun to bring along your instrument. This is a nice opportunity to go over old favorite songs, have sing-a-longs, or learn new fun songs. When I was a child I would take my flute on camping trips with my family and play out in the grass by the lake.
There are many great music summer camps for kids. Unless it's part of their school curriculum, most kids don't get a great number of opportunities to play their instrument in a group. Summer camp is a great chance for them to learn to new material and experience the joy and power of playing as part of an ensemble. They'll also build new friendships along the way and be inspired by kids with their same interests.
Here are some cool gadgets for practicing away from home:
VOX amPlug ($39.00)- This nifty device creates the sound of a guitar amp, but through headphones. It plugs into your guitar and then directly into headphones. Using this will give a much more rewarding sound than practicing an electric guitar with no amp.
Roll-up Piano - There are many models of the foldable piano, they are very easy to transport. Note that these pianos are best for beginners only playing a few notes at a time. The keys don't actually physically push down so it is more to practice finger positions. These pianos can be very fun and useful for beginners.
Drum Practice Pad ($15.00-$50.00)- Practice pads are great to bring along to practice rudiments and snare patterns. Foldable drums sets with practice pads are also available.
Kara Kulpa talks about using imagination to engage preschoolers in fun and dynamic music classes.
Kara Kulpa is a Boston based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with a degree in Music Therapy. Kara is the Outsourcing Director for Preschool Music Programming, Preschool Music Enrichment, and Preschool Music Teachers at Jammin' With You!
JWY!: What got you started in teaching preschool and kids music classes? KK: I have a degree in music therapy and practiced for awhile before I moved to Boston. I met Josh at Jammin' With You! and he got me started doing JamBaby classes. I thought it was so fun! I then taught a JamKids class at Beaver Summer Camp for 3-5 yrs olds and had the time of my life. I decided from that point that this was what I wanted to do.
I began booking preschool music classes all over the Newton, Natick, Sudbury, Framingham, Brookline, Wellesley, Weston, Needham, and Wayland areas. One aspect of my education that helped me a lot with successful classes, is the behavior management techniques I learned through being a therapist. Before the students can enjoy the music, you first need to engage them, and keep their attention. It takes a specific skill set it takes to get 15, four-year-olds focused on you. You’re not performing for them, you’re playing with them.
Watch Kara Kulpa at Beaver Summer Camp!
JWY!: How do you use imagination in your music classes? KK:The engagement with imagination is something that sets Jammin’ With You teachers apart from run of the mill teacher. Imagination is systematically taken out of us as we get older. We think of things as more and more specific and lose a little imagination. There’s a lot more room for creative thinking when you're kids. For example, I know I'm handing out scarves but I need to train myself to show that I’m actually handing out ice cream, maybe even broccoli flavored ice cream. The kids will be right there with you, being silly and imaginative.
JWY!:What are the different programs you bring into schools? KK:In a daycare setting we bring a combo of JamBaby and JamKidscurriculum. We’re getting up and moving around, working on impulse control, learning colors, and incorporating curriculum in fun and engaged way. If the students are learning about nature in class, the teacher will sing a nature song where the students can apply their new learning. We also use transitions between songs to reinforce learning, for example asking for only the green shakers when cleaning up. We're globalizing learning throughout each step of the class.
JWY!:What is one of your favorite songs to perform with kids? KK: There are so many songs I love to do, but one of my favorites is "I'm Just a Cowboy". When I do this song, I set it up by saying “We’re gonna go on an adventure, does anyone wanna go?” "We might encounter some things that might be scary, but we are not scared, show me brave faces!" "We’re not even afraid of rattle snakes. Can I hear, rattle snakes?" I shake bag of shakers and we pretend they are rattle snakes then pass them out. "Everyone hold onto your reins!"
Throughout the song I add in different imaginative concepts. We pretend we're coming into town, and we wave and say "howdy ma'am". Then we merge onto highway and pretend we're going faster and faster. The possibilities are endless!
Check out Kara's demonstration of I'm Just A Cowboy!
Jammin’ With You! uses music as a creative tool to help children stay connected to their inner artist. JWY! creates music-driven adventures led by expert teachers, playful and innovative teaching approaches and a commitment to bringing the arts into the lives of families everywhere. Bring Jammin' With You to your school!