Our year-long curriculum is based around the four seasons, with three cycles of three lessons within each one, as well as one-off lessons for events such as Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day.
For our Valentine's lesson we have a theme of bees and honey and in sticky keys, children play an improvisation on the black keys, playing as if their hands are covered in sticky honey!
Students learn technique and improvise on the black keys.
In our Winter lessons, we have an arctic trail where we are thinking about the musical alphabet and order of letters.
The aim is to learn the order of the musical alphabet and the progression goes from tracing lines that are already present, to drawing the lines in (see image), and finally to using separate letters and placing them in an order.
Cool Down the Piano
In our Summer lessons, we need to cool down the piano! Students place the caps on the two black keys, the sunglasses on the three black keys and flip flops (shaped to fit the keys) on the white keys.
Activities help students to recognise the two and three black key pattern on the piano, which prepares students for learning to find notes when they start formal piano.
Pot of Gold
We use rainbow pitched percussion instruments and provide theme-based opportunities to play melodies by following the colour patterns (the melody above for St Patrick's Day being C D C E C).
We also use these instruments for echo songs.
Our consistent weekly structure has been carefully crafted to ensure all skills are nurtured, and that the order of activities is appropriate for our littlest learners!
We start with a hello song and warm-up songs that relate to the topic of the lesson.
After a circle-time chat about the topic (e.g. have you been to the beach? What did you take with you? What did you do? What did you see?), we listen to a piano piece that illustrates the different elements of our topic (for example in Autumn Walk our piano piece takes us through the wood and shows us the falling leaves, the berries and the different animals).
We then have an activity that develops finger dexterity and muscle tone, such as working with manipulatives or using gator grabbers to pick up small items and place them on a theme-based image (corn kernels onto the corn maize/maze).
We work with pitched percussion instruments in two ways: either for echo songs (where we also tap colour circles and sing), and to match patterns and play melodies from those patterns.
There are many opportunities for rhythm and pulse development through listening and movement activities.
There are many opportunities for improvisation on the piano, aiming to achieve different effects such as snow falling or rainbow shapes.
We end the lesson with a calm song where we have carefully selected listening extracts that relate to the theme of the lesson.
There are many wonderful Early Years Music classes which develop general musicianship skills; however you can offer a unique program that really does put the piano front and center of everything.
Our Pre-Notes children have opportunities to listen, play, dance and engage with the piano in so many ways.
We have improvisation both in terms of sound scapes (making the hedgehog hide away), and as a piece of music (black key improvisations with an accompaniment to illustrate elements such as a rainbow, snow falling and jellyfish!).
They are also asked to move in various ways to different extracts (ladybug resting, crawling and flying), responding as the music changes.
Finally, we have story pieces, where the piano narrates and illustrates our Spring or Winter walk.
All our piano songs and accompaniments are original and created with specific intention. Listen to our icicles improvisation accompaniment, where children are encouraged to play short notes, lifting their hands off each one.