Saturday, September 7, 2013

Practicing With Legos

I've got some Lego lovers in my house and studio. I've been using Legos in some of our school activities and realized there were also many ways to use them in our music lessons and practice sessions.

Build a piece
By using different colored Lego blocks, you can help your child build the form of the piece they are learning or reviewing. I've often used colors to help students understand and learn the form of a piece, and this is another way to bring the form to life visually.

For example, the above figure on the left is the form for Twinkle. I used two colors and two sizes to help the student understand the parts of the piece. ABBA / bread, cheese, cheese, bread / yellow, green, green, yellow. This visual representation shows that the B part (or cheese or green) is shorter than the A part.

Can you guess what the middle figure is representing? Long, Long Ago by TH Bayly  You have a musical phrase (yellow) with a first ending (green), repeat the musical phrase (yellow) with a second ending (red). Then you have a completely new musical phrase (blue), followed by a repeat of the first musical phrase (yellow) and second ending (red).

Right now my daughter is learning Minuet in G by Beethoven. This is what the figure on the right represents. As we were practicing I could say, "You know yellow and white. Play each one twice, then listen as I play red and blue. When I'm finished playing, you can play yellow and white again." For some reason this is very different than me saying "Play the first part, then repeat it."

I had student that needed to play something 10 times before moving on. I told him I would create a head tower and add a head for each repetition. He gladly played the repetitions and even asked to do it again!

Learn Key Signatures

This one seems self-explanatory from the photos. This is a fun way to learn the order of sharps and flats, as well as what the actual sharps and flats are in each key.

I'd love to hear your ideas if you have any more!