Music Mind Games is a music theory curriculum created by Suzuki Piano teacher Michiko Yurko and involves a series of colorful materials and progressive games for teaching music theory to children. The entire curriculum is one of the best I have ever seen for effectively teaching complex concepts in natural ways that are developmentally appropriate for children.
As I progressed in my violin teaching career the reality of limited time pushed me to narrow my music theory offerings and the one thing I kept teaching consistently from the vast Music Mind Games curriculum was the Blue Jello Cards used for teaching rhythm note reading. I developed a 5 part approach for using these for violinists and also 4 challenges to engage and integrate my more advanced students in multi-level teaching situations.
On a fun, personal note I credit the effectiveness of the Music Mind Games curriculum for spawning my career as a composer. After many years of teaching the basics using the Blue Jello Cards, my rhythmic dictation got so strong that when I traveled to different countries I would transcribe different languages into rhythms in my head.
In this video learn a progression for using the Blue Jello Cards from the Music Mind Games curriculum in a way specific for benefitting violinists. The progression shared in the video is:
1- Speak cards (optional hand symbols).
2- Sing in ascending scale.
3- Air bow while speaking/singing.
4- Play on an open string.
5- Play as an A major scale.
* Add marching to any of these steps.
Have multi-level classes? Learn 4 additional ways to integrate advanced level students in a challenging and engaging way:
1- Stay on the same open string pitch as the rest of the group but do each card in a different position (i.e. 1st card in III position, 2nd card in IV position, 3rd card in II position, etc…)
2- Again, stay on the same open string pitch as the rest of the group but play each beat in a different position (II, III, IV, III, II, I, etc…)
3- Play a different scale for each card.
4- Improvise a melody.
Learn more at www.MusicMindGames.com.
Pipe Cleaners & Music Theory/ Blue Jello Cards - Learn a cheap, hands-on, colorful and easy clean-up activity to support teaching music theory and the Blue Jello Cards to young musicians.
The Magic Bag - a Metaphor for the Learning Process - Learn a "magical" way to create the identity of a learner in young students using the Blue Jello Cards.
How do you teach rhythm and/or music theory in your studio? Let us know in the comments below before the next newsletter for a chance to win a set of Blue Jello Cards.
Download this teaching progression chart to have for your studio here:
Hi! It's me, Heather. I absolutely love working on the Music for Young Violinists project and all the many facets: blogging, website, music, teaching materials, freebies, videos, newsletter and giveaway contests. The best part is connecting with you so feel free to drop me a line. You can learn more about me on the "ABOUT" page. Thanks!