You know you're a music teacher when you're thinking about Halloween in August.
This year I'm planning a Halloween recital, so I've been thinking about it extra early. I love writing holiday music for my students and I have several Halloween pieces in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Today I'll be discussing some of them, but also sharing music for other instruments and fun activities.
Songs & Improv
Midnight Masquerade is a song I wrote for a student who just discovered she could reach octaves! This piece comes with 3 versions, one with and one without octaves, as well as a simpler pre-reading version.
Halloween Piano Improv
I’ve been using this resource from Teach Piano Today since it came out 5 years ago. The simple teacher duet part combined with the creative phrases make for a fun time creating at the piano.
This song is perfect for beginner piano students! The simple repeated patterns make it easy to play and the minor key makes it sound especially Halloween-y. This piece comes with FOUR versions: two pre-reading arrangements in A minor position and two staff reading in D minor position. It's currently free on my TpT Store, but only for a limited time.
Activities & Games
Skin & Bones
Have you ever heard of the song "Skin & Bones"? I first learned this song when I was teaching elementary band. The vocal teacher in my school had her students singing it while playing a circle game. I've since found that it's wonderful in private voice lessons. The repeated "Ooo" is especially useful in helping students explore vowel shaping. I also found this Orff arrangement for classroom music teachers.
Addams Family Cup Passing Game
My students LOVE cup activities. I have no idea who came up with it, but it is brilliant! Someone created this visual and there’s a YouTube follow along video. This year I’m going to challenge my students to perform it with a frown like Wednesday Addams….and let’s be honest, there’s nothing funnier than seeing kids trying not to smile!
Weesing's Halloween song book includes a minor version of Looby Lou with new lyrics. It got me thinking about all of the other children's songs that can be sung in minor to make them sound "spooky".
Bats & Cats Notes
Oh my goodness, how my students LOVE this game by Susan Paradis. It’s easily adaptable to intermediate students. No joke, I had a student request it twice this summer. Definitely a must have!
We're about halfway through summer break here in New Jersey, but I know a lot of schools in other parts of the country are almost ready to begin the new year.
Even though I teach private piano lessons, my calendar is the same as the school calendar, so the start to our year is the day after Labor Day.
With all the uncertainty of whether or not schools are reopening, I've been making mental notes about what I will and possibly will not be able to use with my students.
Here are my favorite resources that will be usable regardless of whether we're in person or online this fall.
MusicTheory.Net/Tenuto - this website/app combination turns note reading into a game!
Rhythm Cups Explorations by Wendy Stevens - Seriously fun rhythm "drills". This comes as a digital file that you can screen-share or print out.
Teach Piano Today's Piano Game Club - 4 games every month delivered directly to your email. You can print and laminate these games for in-person lesson use or keep them as digital files and play during your online lessons.
Piano Pronto by Jennifer Eklund- My go-to for online method books. The variety and quality of music available is fantastic!