First off, I must say that the general outline for the camp was put together by another teacher in our local association who is chairing the committee for our Music Olympics next week. This made my planning a piece of cake, since I really just had to fill in the specifics. Thanks, Sally! Now, on to the questions…
What was the treble clef game? This is the first music game I made years ago and it’s still one of the favorites in my studio. (I think I’ll just do a separate post with the specifics of how it’s designed and played.)
How did you use the rhythm cards? I lined four at a time across the music rack on the piano and then had the students clap and count or conduct and vocalise the rhythms. They actually really loved doing this and I love the rhythm cards!
Was that the Balloon Pop Polka? Yes. It’s a great ensemble piece!
What was the relay thing at the keyboard? One of the events for our Music Olympics is scale relays. A team of 4 students (if there are fewer than 4, they must still complete the requirements of a 4-person team) prepares 2 scales each according to the requirements of the level they are entering. The first student plays the first scale and then the next student immediately begins the following scale without missing a beat. The scales must be played in ascending order. The rotation of students continues until all 8 scales have been played. The teams are judged on correct fingering, accurate notes, steady beat and continuity between each student. This is sure a great way to help students polish their scales! I made them keep training over and over, even if they got it right. I think some of them probably played their scales more in those 4 days than they did the whole previous year!
Was there supposed to be sound? Yes, and I’m glad you figured out how to get the sound to work on your computer – it is amazing the difference music makes! The music I used is The Olympic Spirit by John Williams.
On videoing while teaching…this was a bit tricky! There are a number of activities I completely forgot to record at all. When I was highly involved in the particular activity, it slipped my mind, but anytime the students were working more independently on an activity or assignment I gave them, I usually remembered to pull out my camera and shoot for a few minutes.
What was the snapping fingers at the beginning of the video? That was 2 sisters trying to help their younger brothers learn the right timing for popping their balloons in the Balloon Pop Polka!
What were some kids writing on the clipboards while others did the relay? Since a couple of the students at the camp either weren’t going to be at the Music Olympics festival or weren’t entered in the scale relay competitions I employed them as “judges” to give them something constructive to do on the last day while the other two trained by themselves. I gave each one of the “judges” something specific to watch for – either accurate notes, correct fingering or steady beat. For each scale that was played, if the area they were watching for was performed successfully, they were to make one tally mark on their sheet of paper.
Did they prepare music ahead of time? A few of the students got music the week before at their lesson, but most of them sight-read it the first day of piano camp and had to learn it that week.
What were they painting? Flags! Each studio participating in the Music Olympics next weekend got to design their own flag which we will all carry in during the Opening Ceremonies. Since I had 2 groups for piano camp, I let them each design one side of a flag and then I sewed them together.
On age integration…almost all of my group events involve a wide range of ages (from 5 year-olds to post-graduates) and I have found this to be very beneficial. I often pair older students with younger ones and have them work together on specific assignments or games. This gives the older ones a chance to be leaders and it inspires the younger ones because they really look up to the older ones.
Would you ever do a video just showing your studio? Yes! That’s actually something on my to-post list, since I’ve had other readers send me a request to do that as well. As soon as I get around to taking the video, I’ll get it posted and give you all a virtual tour of my studio!
When did you do it? June 30-July 3; 2 1/2 hours each day for each group – I had one group from 10:00-12:30 and the other group from 1:00-3:30 each day with an open lunch time in between so that anyone could bring a sack lunch and hang out here with the others.
How did you put the video together with a title page and rolling credits? Last year, for one of my piano camps I wanted my students to make a documentary, so I purchased the Adobe Premiere Elements software. It is pretty intuitive and has a lot of basic capabilities, including adding rolling credits. There are some features I would really like that it doesn’t have, so eventually I may upgrade to the full version of Adobe Premiere, but for now it is serving its purpose.
Piano Camps are such a fun part of summer lessons in my studio. If you haven’t already given it a try, I highly recommend it!