The holiday season is a great time for those one-off mini projects that help everyone get into the spirit of Christmas! Most people, whether they are music students or not, would agree that music is such a key part of the season! So how about offering your group classes a mini one-off workbook, based on the story of The Nutcracker?!
Normally our workbooks would only be available to those who subscribe to the KeyNotes program, but we have decided to make this available to ALL teachers! We have made it a SUPER flexible workbook so that anyone can use it with their pre-schoolers and older beginners, groups or one-on-one! Our system of differentiation, and the fact that we have provided pre-reader and reader versions, means that a large array of students will have their musical needs met, while enjoying the creative learning opportunities that it brings!
Want to know more? Here's what's in the book:
The very first page contains some foundational skills (the reader version has some pitch recognition on the grand stave instead of the keyboard and finger numbers) and some listening prompts. When we listen to music in our KeyNotes classes, we are aiming to develop students' ability to hear and describe the musical elements: pitch, texture, structure, tempo, dynamics, instrumentation etc. And not just for the sake of being able to describe them, but so they can develop an awareness of how these elements achieve certain purposes and intentions (choosing programmatic music really helps!). You have a variety of options here - you can ask your youngest students to simply close their eyes and think about what the music helps them to imagine, or your older students can get specific with musical elements and write them down in their workbook.
Our present rhythm game is next in the workbook. Again, depending on your class, there are so many ways you can use this! You could have them clap/say one after the other, split the class in half and have half play one rhythm and the other play another one! Or indeed have all four parts going, build a performance with one starting, then another coming in, etc! And the really fun part is where they get to make up their own rhythm to the words of their favourite present or toy!
The next game involves labelling presents! You have a page of presents with letter names on, and then either some keyboard tags, or notation tags, to stick onto the appropriate present!
Then we come to our first piece, The Nutcracker! All the pieces have 4-5 different levels of difficulty (we call them Challenge 1, Challenge 2) etc and you will be given the levels in your lesson plans and lesson videos (more on that later!). So anyone, from a student just playing Cs, to a student playing independent hands together, can play, progress and partake in ensemble performances!
Each of our pieces (there are three altogether, including a piano duet) are linked to part of the Nutcracker story and give extra opportunities to think about how music can represent intentions (the mouse king uses a high pitch for example). There are also reader and pre-reader versions of the book, so you can choose which is most appropriate for where your students are at and how they have been learning up to now! Here is an example of one of the song pages (from our pre-reader version):
My favourite piece is definitely Ding Dong, as the 12 strikes of the clock are played on Cs and you can have the students finding a different C on their piano for each strike, or even have them moving to other keyboards (Covid precautions allowing of course!).
The last page in the book is a composition task! If you haven't taught composition before, there is lots of guidance on how to approach it! Students are going to draw their land of sweets and then compose a piece that describes it! Using all of the musical elements that they have learnt about through their listening tasks!
So there is the book in almost its entirety! There is a finger numbers game where they have to crack some nuts (pretend to!) with fingers 1 and 2, 1 and 3 etc. Plus a lovely colouring sheet, just for fun (which they can do at home if there is no time in lessons!).
This is what the students get but what about you? Well you get lesson plans to help you structure the activities above appropriately, and Founder, Melanie Bowes, takes you through every aspect of the book in video format! So you can best deliver the lessons, using the KeyNotes system of differentiation, an appropriate pace, and a lot of fun! Oh and there are accompaniments too!
This book will be good for at least 4 lessons and you could use it in up to 8, if you take a couple of weeks on one or two of the pieces and have a review and performance week.
Oh and due to the digital access, you can easily use this book for your online lessons, sending it over email for parents to print and screen-sharing it for your classes!
This mini workbook is available NOW (in both US and UK versions) and is currently at the super low price of $27.00. This is a special launch price. As mentioned above, we don't normally sell any of our resources separately and we are excited to share this with you. From the 25th November the price will increase to $47.00 and then the product will not be available to purchase after 15th December! So get in quickly! Here is the link to purchase:
Hope you have lots of fun with it!