At the beginning of each lesson, I’ve started having my students draw a popsicle stick from a container on the piano. Each popsicle stick has one of the following written on it:
2. Rhythmic Dictation
3. Rhythm and Pulse
5. Melodic Dictation
7. Play A Game
8. Written Theory
10. Scales/Intervals By Ear
11. Scale Patterns
13. Note ID
These are all areas that I want to work on with each student, but of course can’t fit into their regular lesson time each week. So at the beginning of the lesson, they draw a stick and we spend 5 or so minutes focusing on that area. Last week one of my young students drew the “Melodic Dictation” stick. I knew he couldn’t handle the wonderful Melodic Dictation worksheets that I use for my older students, so I had to come up with something else for him to do. This is what I came up with:
I grabbed some of my circle magnets and told him that I would play five notes and he had to arrange the magnets on the magnetic board according to the direction that he heard me play the notes – either up, down or repeating. I started out with only those three options. He caught on very quickly, so I told him I would try a couple more advanced patterns. I would mix the notes so that sometimes they might go up and sometimes they might go down. He had to listen carefully and again arrange the notes in the direction that he heard them move.
Not only did he do a great job with this, he also had a ton of fun doing it! I’ve continued to use this with other students that have drawn the “Melodic Dictation” stick and so far they’ve all caught on quickly and enjoyed this fun activity. It seems like a great introduction to help students become successful with melodic dictation exercises!
Here are a couple of resources I’ve found for good deals on magnetic boards and magnets: