Laughing and Learning

I'm always amazed at how little it takes to engage a child. I feel like one of those people who laughs at the same joke over and over.

Yesterday we had what I call Master Class. My students come at either 3 or 4 pm on a Saturday afternoon once a month. They play whatever pieces they're working on, and we play a game or two. It's not a big deal.

But yesterday it got out of hand. In a good way. One of the older girls had a scheduling problem and had to come to the earlier class so I handed her my iPhone and she videotaped what has to be the most raucous moment ever instigated by the differentiation of intervals. I feel comfortable saying that.

There are three roles in the game:

  • Teacher
  • Student
  • Corrector

We made groups of three with each child taking a turn or two at each position. This particular video actually shows me as the student and various kids taking the parts of teacher and corrector. Actually, I should say CORRECTOR. It's the coveted role because the kids get to show me exactly what I'm doing wrong and how I should be doing it. They also like playing the teacher because they get to sit in the teacher chair

There are so many benefits to getting students together. Learning is one, but just having a great time with other kids who love music is probably the best part. It's also interesting to see how students interact with each other. Sometimes I see a side of a student that I wouldn't be aware of one-on-one.

Is it time for you to have a class? Or a party? Or just a get-together? The Interval Game requires no preparation and almost no actual preexisting knowledge. Kids who don't understand what a fourth is suddenly burst forth correcting each other. Hilarious!

If you're looking for a more structured game, I suggest Musical Spoons. It comes in several varieties, (Notes, Key Signatures and Triads) and can be easily tailored to suit any age group. It is so popular with my students that I had to talk them out of it to let me teach them the Interval Game.