A few weeks ago I shared with you about the camps I had planned for the summer, so I thought I’d give an update on how the camps have been going. In June I had one camp each week, and a different one every week! It sure kept me busy, but I had a lot of fun.
I started with a Carnival of the Animals camp for 3-5 year olds which we combined with a little bit of piano readiness material. The kids especially loved moving around like animals to the orchestra recordings, and they also loved the Carnival of the Animals coloring book. I printed out the free coloring book mentioned in the previous post and had it bound at a copy center. On the last day of class we sang the animals songs for the parents and showed them some of the things we learned, the parents were amazed at how much they had done in the week, and all the kids had a great time.
I had two weeks of “Way Cool Keyboarding 4 Kids” camps. One for younger children (6-8) and one for older beginners (9-11). I think the Way Cool Keyboarding books worked best with my older kids camp, which was all 10 and 11 year olds. They loved the music, and were often dancing around at their keyboard benches while they played! All three kids signed up to continue in their piano studies and some have already had a few lessons with me. The Alphabet Trail game available at pianimation.com was also a big hit with this age group! They Way Cool Keyboarding books were a little more difficult for the younger kids. They still had a great time, but they had a harder time with the chord shells used in the book, their fine motor skills weren’t quite there yet. For the long term, I think I will supplement the Way Cool Keyboarding book with some books from the American Popular Piano series. I love how the WCK gets them playing music that sounds good really early, but I’m afraid that using it alone will get students too used to C position, and leave them with some reading challenges long term. All that said, I had a great time and loved the Way Cool Keyboarding music.
The final camp I had was a Music History Camp using composer lapbooks from colorinmypiano.com. We used Gustav Holst, Frederic Chopin, Scott Joplin, and Camille Saint-Saens. It was heavy on the romantic/20th century side, but our summer theme is “Travel the World” so I was more interested in getting a variety of countries, rather than periods of music. I especially loved that Scott Joplin was born in Texas, my students were so excited to color in Texas on the map and be able to relate to him that way. The lapbooks were a great hit and the kids had a lot of fun putting them together. I got CD’s and books about the composers from the local library to use during the camp. I will definitely plan to use the lapbooks more in the future. I would love to get a homeschool class together to work through these on a weekly basis, or to offer extra workshops throughout the semester using the lapbooks.
I have one more camp next week, a piano readiness class for Pre-K students, and we have 5 enrolled right now. I’m planning to use a lot of the beginning activities in Faber’s My First Piano Adventures along with a little bit of Music for Little Mozarts, plus some fun songs and rhythm instruments. After that, it will be a 3 week break for me, I’m really looking forward to that!
Spring Seals, NCTM, teaches 60 piano students ranging from age 3 to 70 in Fort Worth, Texas. She also serves as the Director of Certification for TMTA. She is passionate about helping teachers become more effective in their studios through professional development, new resources, and fresh ideas.