Here are some game ideas to use along with the lesson plans for Level A:
The “Hello Friends” song (p 37) is an excellent activity for learning little singers’ names while reinforcing melodic skills. For a more challenging game: while having the group sit in a circle, ask a little singer to create a unique melody for their name, such as “Johnathon” sung to the pitches “Do-Mi-So.” After all the group repeats the first little singer’s name-melody, the next little singer adds their own unique name-melody. Then, the group sings the first and then the second name-melody, and then the third little singers adds their own. By the last little singer, the group must sing each name-melody in order.
“Snake Charmer” Says:
Use this variation of the traditional children’s game to reinforce elements of singing technique such as posture, belly-breathing, and sustained hissing. The person designated as the Snake Charmer gives simple directions for the rest of the group to follow, such as “Snake Charmer says: ‘Stand up straight and tall.’” The group should only follow the directions if they are prefaced with “Snake Charmer says…” If the Snake Charmer gives a direction without first saying “Snake Charmer says…”, the first person to say “Snake Charmer didn’t say” gets to become the new Snake Charmer.
Hot or Cold:
Use this variation of the traditional children’s game to reinforce high and low pitch, as well as matching pitch. Send one little singer out of the room and hide an object. When the little singer returns, the group should sing “oo” at a low pitch, raising in pitch whenever the searcher gets closer to the hidden object. When the searcher finds the object, they get to choose another little singer to go out of the room and they also get to hide the object in a new place.
Clap or March Along:
This simple activity reinforces little singers’ sense of beat in music, while also exposing them to new music. Put on recording of a song (high quality classical music suggested, but other songs will work as well) and instruct the group to clap along to the beat of the song. To switch things up, have them march to the song, or snap, or slap their knees. (Try marching along to the accelerating beat of Greig’s In the Hall of the Mountain King.) For more advanced little singers, identify and clap special rhythmic features of a piece such as the loud “Ta Ta Ta!” in Mozart’s overture to The Abduction from the Seraglio.
Revisit Favorite Old Games and Song Activities:
Level A is full of games targeted to increase a little singer’s musical skills. If you have some extra time, why not go back to an older activity that was a class favorite? Here are some possibilities:
- In your best announcer voice, invite the little singers to bring their motorboats to the starting lines and begin the race through the windy track, narrating each turn, jump, and water hazard to avoid so they can “buzz” along accordingly (p 9).
- Invite the class to board your airplane and narrate all aspects of the sight-seeing flight as they hum a pitch high or low in relation to the altitude of the plane (p 10).
- Revisit the “Freddy the Firetruck” game (p 15), or the “Cuckoo Bird” activity (p19).
Copy Cat Variations:
This fundamental activity for teaching little singers rhythm and melodic sense (see p 18) can be changed up in several ways to keep it fresh and challenging.
- Try using a combination of claps, snaps, knee slaps, stomps, etc. for rhythms that the group must repeat back in correct sequence.
- Try playing melodies or rhythms on different instruments.
- After playing a melody on an instrument (or singing it on a single vowel), ask the little singers to repeat it back using the correct solfege.
- After playing a rhythm on an instrument (or saying it on a neutral syllable), ask the little singers to repeat it back using the correct rhythm syllables.
- Silently do the Body Scale gestures for a melody and ask the little singers to correctly sing it back to you.
- If they are able, let some of the little singers create the melodies or rhythms for the group to repeat back.
This activity is an easier version of the Rhythm Cards that are later used in Level B. Make several large cards that say either “Ta,” “Ti-Ti,” “Ta-Ah,” or “Shh.” (It would probably be a good idea while you are at it to draw the appropriate musical note or symbol on the other side to use when the little singers are ready.) Then, mixing up the cards, draw out four and lay them down side by side. As a group, say the rhythm syllables for the cards in a steady beat. Mix up the cards and repeat.
If you have great musical game that goes along with Level A, leave it in the comments section below so other teachers can benefit from it!
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