Tricks for teaching kids?

Tricks for teaching kids?

I’ve been teaching pennywhistle to a group of first and second graders. The first class went as expected. Total mayhem.
Today will be the sixth class with them and they are slowly catching on as well as you could expect six and seven year olds would.
During the last class, some of the water pipes in the school began to rattle unexpectedly and got everyones attention. The kids all got quiet and I had them in the palm of my hand when I said "OOOOH….Shhhh…..you guys, it’s a GHOST!!! " Perfect break.
Next thing you know, I had them convinced that each whistle had a ghost in it and now they were going to learn how to wake up their ghost in the whistle and make it sing.
Anyone got any other fun tricks for teaching first and second graders how to play whistle, or any other instrument?

Re: Tricks for teaching kids?

Dumbells?

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Tried that already, it didn’t work. 🙂

Re: Tricks for teaching kids?

I used to teach that age. I would try a strict voice to let them know you mean business. Then after they know they can’t push you around, you can be friendly and fun with them.

I used to also tell them if they blow too hard and make that horrid shrill noise, then the leprechauns would get mad and attack……..just kidding.

Really though, at that age, either they have it or they don’t. There was only a small handful who took interest and did well. The majority were just too preoccupied with other things.

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If you don’t do your practice you’ll end up in a country and western band. Works everytime.

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I teach school concert band music to middle school kids (11, 12, 13 year olds holding clarinets, flutes, trumpets, etc) and what works for me is to sing everything. I sing their parts to them, they sing them back to me, and then they play it on their instruments. If they can’t sing it, they sure will never be able to play it. I am a firm believer in singing everything you are trying to learn (or teach.)

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I’ve been lilting some short diddly phrases with them. I like your idea Greg, I’ll try to get them more focused on singing diddly. Thanks.
We’re talking 6 and 7 year olds. Still a bit young for recognizing much melody. Twinkle twinkle, Mary had a little lamb is all they’ve ever had before.
None the less, I am having success with making it into rhythmic games and kinda tricking them into playing melody with ghosts and little mousies in the hole and such. They gotta be having fun. They’re little kids.
I thought some Mustardahoovian who teaches kids that young might have some tricky little teaching games.

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Some children of that age may not have fully developed fine motor skills or, for want of a better phrase, brain/finger co-ordination. Showing them the finger pattern will be more effective than talking about which (top/bottom/left/right etc) finger they need to move. I agree totoally with the singing bit. Even for adults, you can’t learn a tune if you can’t sing it/hear it internally.

Re: Tricks for teaching kids?

"Dumbells?"
"Tried that already, it didn’t work."

If anyone outside the UK is puzzled by those posts the answer is a very sad case reported here: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article7111814.ece

There must be many teachers around who could say to themselves "There, but for the grace of God …"

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There are many free books on music teaching at Gutenberg.org from years ago, if you are interested. It is rather bemusing — well to me, anyway — to see how they thought they knew how to teach in those days. I wonder what those authors would make of the dumbbell incident (It seems the spelling has changed since I was at school).

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Re: Tricks for teaching kids?

Gutenberg.org, what a great site.
Many thanks gam.

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You only have 20 minutes to teach them anything, so stick to simple tunes they know. Ect, Happy birthday and any nursery rhyme.

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also Christmas Carols work too

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How about "Mairi’s Wedding" or I"ll Tell Me Ma" ?

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Re: Tricks for teaching kids?

I used to teach the recorder at school (as a chosen subject). Some kids thought it was as easy as watching TV, others put a lot of time in and improved very soon.

I used to start each lesson (group of up to ten 8-9 year olds) by inviting them to play a chosen tune as a solo. Give them lots of praise whenever possible.

Rhythm is very important and also fun. Get one of them to clap some rhythm pattern and somebody else to repeat it. Who gets it right can have a go if it was correct etc.

Use some accompaniment when they play in unison. It sounds a lot more impressive instantly even if it’s just a xylophone.

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Re: Tricks for teaching kids?

Lone rover, 20 min, that’s brilliant. Then sometimes, it’s only a minute or two before they get distrcted. That’s exactly why I’m seeking more little games to play that’ll trick them into making music.
As long as I can have some bit of structure to keep them playfully focused, it works. Otherwise, they get wiggly and waggly real fast.
Tell Me Ma is good for them to sing Random, but the whistle part is too much for them. I think the first part of Mairi’s wedding may work though. I’ll try that next class. Thanks for the ideas guys.

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Nice kuec, more good ideas.
That’s fantastic.