Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mr. Wiggle and Mr. Waggle

Mr. Wiggle and Mr. Waggle is a very popular finger play with all of my students.  This fingerplay works on fine motor skills using the thumbs as the characters that go in and out of their houses and up and the down the hills.  It also provides a lot of pitch exploration as the voice goes up and down when the characters go up and down the hills. 

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Monday, May 28, 2012

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

Singing songs is a fun way to tell a story!

"There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly"  is a great song that is full of educational moments!

*It is full of rhyming words: 
spider/inside her
horse/of course

It also teaches timing and beat when the children engage and become part of the song.  They learn when it is time to chime in to sing their part.

Plus, it is just plain fun!

Trouble viewing the video?  Click here.

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If you would like a study unit on a similar book, There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a TroutWise Owl Factory has a free PDF which includes pocket chart cards with pictures for the teacher resource, a student work page, and an answer key.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Dance of the Butterfly

This Spring we watched our caterpillars grow, change into chrysalis and emerge as butterflies.  It is such an awesome transformation to watch.

Tiny Caterpillars Just Arrived

Growing Bigger!

All Wrapped Up!


This year, Amanda caught one of our butterflies as it was emerging!  It is so cool, we wanted to share it with you.  Enjoy!

Video of Emerging Butterfly!

Dance of the Butterfly

What you need:
Dancing ribbons You can make your own!  Follow the directions in this past post.
Music such as Spring by Vivaldi

As the music is playing make your ribbons dance like a butterfly.  You can also do other spring motions such as a newly hatched bird and a spring breeze.  The ribbons are perfect for dancing to spring!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Practice Piano with Ms. Tonya

One of my awesome students asked me to make a video to help him practice his newest song.

The song is "Indian Tom Toms"  from the Thompson Easiest Piano Course.  I'm not sure I love the title but it does have a fun beat!

In the video, I start with the left hand part first, then the right hand, and finish with both hands together.  Keep practicing one hand at a time until it is easy for you before putting both hands together. 

If you like this video you can subscribe to my YouTube channel at StringsKeysMelodies

Have fun!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Getting Life in Balance and Calming Music

As some of you know, I was hit by a car while crossing the street in the crosswalk.  It has been a difficult 3 weeks but I am doing a lot better. 

I have written several articles on the Dandelion blog that you might be interested in.

Dandelion is a magazine for families with special needs who live in the Sacramento and San Francisco areas.  I write on their blog several times a month concerning music for the family and special needs children. 

The first article I wrote about the accident was An "I Can Do Everything" Mom Learns Her Limits.  This doesn't have anything to do with music but life as a mom who is on the go, full speed ahead, and then -bam! is on the couch after the accident.

The next one is The Calming Power of Music which is about me not being able to sleep at night without calming music.  My favorite music to relax to is Midori Bali: Reflection of a Tranquil Paradise.  It is full of nature sounds and calming instrumental music. 

How do you stay in balance?

What music helps you relax?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Music Classes and Special Events with Strings, Keys and Melodies

These are the classes we offer at our studio, Strings, Keys, and Melodies.  We believe children learn best while having fun and enjoying themselves. 

Ages Birth - 1 1/2 years

Lullabies is a parent participation class where the parents sing to and engage their baby in melodies and finger plays. We will relearn precious traditional lullabies and finger plays and learn new ones to add to our family collections. Singing songs to baby increases precious bonding, starts language and vocabulary learning and develops gross and fine motor skills.

Wiggles and Giggles
Ages 1 1/2 - 3 years

This class emphasizes fun!
Music involves singing, dancing, listening and play. Singing lyrics increases vocabulary and language skills. Dancing and games are beneficial for spatial development and gross motor skills. Listening to music develops listening and social skills. Making music with instruments develops the brain and thinking skills.
We will learn call and response songs, be introduced to different music genres, use musical instruments to work on rhythms, tones and pitches and play all kinds of musical games all while having fun!

Little Strings, Keys and Melodies
Ages 3-8 years

Music learning is fun! In these group classes children work on: singing, pitches and timing; rhythms and dancing with rhythm instruments and dancing ribbons; as well as beginning musical notation along with beginning instrument instruction. You choose which instrument your child focuses on-piano, violin, voice, ukulele or guitar!

Private Classes
All ages

Private classes are taylored for each individual student. Music is taught in an enjoyable, relaxed way with lots of games to reinforce music notation, rhythm and listening skills. Choose between piano, violin, voice, ukulele and guitar.

Special Events

Birthday Parties, Scout Meetings, One Time Music Classes will include singing, dancing, rhythm instruments, music and parachute games.

Or Customize your Event

Do you have your own idea?
Women's Night out Voice Class
Special Intro to Stringed Instruments
Intro to Classical Concert Music

We'll create a special class for your event!

Ms. Tonya
Strings, Keys and Melodies
(916) 812-2875

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

High and Low Sounds: Melt Like a Snowman, Grow Like a Flower

Children learn with their whole bodies.  There are a bunch of fun music and movement activities to teach children to hear and identify high and low sounds.

You will need a piano or other instrument that you can play high and low notes on.  Before you begin the games be sure  the children know what high, medium and low sounds are. 

Play a high note and have the children put their hands on their heads.

Play a medium note and have them put their hands on their tummies.

Play a low note and have them touch their toes.

Then go faster and start mixing up the order.  See if they can tell if you are playing high, medium or low notes.

Once they have gotten that down you can play Melt Like a Snowman.

Melt Like a  Snowman

The children stand up straight and tall.  Then start playing high notes and slowly walk your fingers down the keyboard.  As the notes go down the children start melting very slowly like a snowman melting in the sun.  They have to learn to melt slowly.  Don’t go too fast!  My students have fun melting across the floor.

Grow Like a Flower

Once you get to the bottom of the keyboard and your children have melted across the floor, it is time to Grow Like a Flower.

Start at the low notes and start walking up the keyboard.  As you play your children can grow from a tiny seed in the ground, sprout and burst into a flower.

These activities help children identify high and low sounds with high and low body positions.  They are perfect for teachers to use in a classroom setting and simple enough for parents with no musical background to do at home.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Natural Musicians

Children are natural musicians.  They have a great time singing and performing for friends and family that love and encourage them.

Yesterday was our Little Musicians Spring Recital, 2012.

We sang "Do Re Mi" together and then each student played a piece on the piano.  They all did a fantastic job!  I was really proud of them.

Enjoy this adorable video!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Readers' Theater and a Little Math

We have been thinking a lot about caterpillars and butterflies at our house.  We have been watching caterpillars turn into chrysalis and are waiting for them to emerge as butterflies. 

While waiting I decided to do a Readers’ Theater with the girls using the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

First I downloaded masks from Ian Nicholls from let me try out his downloadable masks.  There are tons of animal masks to choose from and can be used in so many different ways. 

 The masks come in two versions:  already colored and black and white coloring book style.  I printed out the caterpillar and the butterfly in the coloring book style.

The girls colored them and cut them out.  Instead of making them into masks, we glued popsicle sticks to the back of each one and made puppets.

The girls loved the butterflies on the sticks because they could make them fly and flap their wings.

Then while I read The Very Hungry Caterpillar, the girls acted out the story.

We used colored buttons to represent all the fruit and food the caterpillar eats during the week.  We put the buttons in a graph.  At the end I had the girls count how much fruit and food the caterpillar had eaten through.

When we were done with the story the girls had fun running around the yard making their butterflies fly and land on flowers.