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Thursday, June 29, 2023

Orchestra Classroom Warm ups and Games for Beginning Strings


Teaching beginning orchestra is fun.  Students are excited to learn and there are so many warm-ups, activities, and games to play that are engaging and motivating.  I've taught beginners for 15 years and have tried all sorts of methods and techniques.  I now have favorite rehearsal strategies, games, and warm-ups that I used every year with my beginners.  For the last several months I worked to compile most of my favorite strategies into one big resource.  It's so nice to have it all in one place!  It such a huge project, it's difficult to showcase the entire thing, but here are the highlights:

Google slides - 100 pages total- with embedded content - so much more than 100 pages

Each slide contains an idea, a visual for an activity/warm-up, game instructions, and/or link to additional materials (for example a link for direct access to a ready-made rehearsal game).

11 Categories of content for beginners:

    -Awareness/Focus Games - helping beginners learn how to focus, think, and pay attention

    -Posture/Instrument position - activities and strategies for setting up posture and left hand position

    -Bow hold - Strategies and games to for establishing a great bow hand

    -Tone-Open Strings - Warm-ups on open strings to develop bowing and tone

    -Left-Hand Finding Notes - Warm-ups establish finger placement on tapes

    -Finger Twisters - Mixed up finger patterns to develop left hand independence/fingering

    -Simple Beginner Tunes - Visuals to help teach basic tunes without needing to print out music

    -Rhythm Games - Fun ways to rehearse and practice rhythm

    -Scales - Simple visuals to use when rehearsing basic scales

    -Intonation-mini warm-ups - Slides with short exercises for checking intonation and hand placement. I do these with my beginners almost every day and it really helps them with intonation

    -Rehearsal Games - Ready made, creative games to play in rehearsals to keep beginners engaged and focused on progressing

This resource is INVALUABLE to any beginning orchestra teacher.  Having visuals, games, and warm-ups ready to go makes prep fast and easy.  This google slide is full of links to take the teacher to whatever warm-up/game they want to find.  Plus, since it's a google slide, it can be edited and changed to suit the exact needs of the teacher!  If you need to change some wording or add specific notes it can be done!  

Each of the strategies and ideas in this resource have been tested and proven effective.  Plus the ideas are CREATIVE and FUN.  If you find yourself in a rehearsal rut, doing the same things over and over, this resource will save you.  

It would be difficult to show all 100 slides, but here are a few highlights.  Download your own copy HERE!

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Dictation is fun! Super Rhythm Challenge


Do you have students practice rhythmic dictation?  I have found my beginners enjoy doing dictation and it makes a great assessment tool!  If you have one-to-one tech like chromebooks, a dictation activity can be used for independent work and practice.  Once a week, I have a 'flex time' rehearsal where students spend 20 minutes working on make-up work or enrichment activities.  I created an engaging dictation game students can use during independent work time...check it out!  With a chromebook and headphones, students can work through the game and it's QUIET for everyone else.  Sometimes in orchestra, a quiet activity feels quite refreshing.  :)