Piano Club Musings – Part 2
As mentioned in my previous musings (see Part 1) , my piano clubs were split into two different age groups: a younger group and an older group. The Crunch Club was intended for ages 6-12, and was appropriate for students who were still considered in the elementary piano levels.
In this post you’ll find a description of the elements I included in each club meeting, a few of the specific games/activities that I used, and some advice about what to do with those students who might be on the edge of “aging out” of the younger group.
So what was this “Crunch” Club?
Plain and simple, it was a catchy title. Memory escapes me where I originally got this idea. I think it might have been in Piano Teacher Funmakers, but it also could have been in the Upbeat Mastermind Group. Whoever came up with this idea… thank you, and I’m sorry for not crediting you here and now! (If you know who started this idea, please comment below!)
Crunch Club = lots of music games + snack time!
You read that right. Snack time. Think of it as a built in break! A Crunch Club is when students get something to crunch on and try to crunch as many theory activities and music games into that day as possible.
What kind of activities and games did I use? I tried to fit the following elements in a 1.5 hour club meeting:
- Rhythm Activities like Rhythm on a Roll
- Note Recognition
- Snack Time (duh)
- Theory Worksheets from Theory Time
Generally I tried to theme each meeting. One meeting was all about flip flops (yes, the shoes), another featured outdoor games that involved water, and per the request of my students, we had one meeting that was Harry Potter themed. (Pssst… I’ll admit that another meeting wasn’t themed at all, but it turned out just fine!)
When it came to the snacks, I tried to pick things that were 1) crunchy and 2) generally healthy. Confession: I’ll admit that the Oreos we ate during the one meeting did NOT meet the second requirement. But… Oreos. The kids forgave me. 😉
Snack time generally fell during the middle of our 1.5 hour meeting. We would give ourselves a 15-20 minute break after some intense games. This time allowed us to socialize and gave the kids a chance to “be in charge.” The oldest kids would help hand out the snacks and pour the drinks, and everyone was responsible for cleaning up after themselves.
The performance element was really important. And it didn’t necessarily involve playing the piano! Below is a short video where three of my Crunch Clubbers were working on building rhythms and performing them with drumsticks. This game had several steps: 1) a rhythm toss, 2) building the measures, and 3) practicing the routine.
Students on the Cusp
Age does not necessarily dictate level. And vice-versa. Sometimes you’ll have a young student who is much further along than others, or you might have a student who is right on the edge of being ready for the older group. Here’s a bit of advice with how I handle those situations:
If you think that putting them in the older group will leave them stressed out or feeling awkward — keep them in the younger club. Talk to your student and their parents about your decision, and offer them a Club Helper position where they will be in charge of helping some of your youngest students.
This is a great opportunity for them to learn how to verbalize their music theory knowledge! Plus you might need an extra set of hands if your group has a wide age range. Have your Club Helper arrive 15-20 minutes early so that you can guide them through what they’ll need to do, and you can also have them stick around 5-10 more minutes at the end to help clean up!
If a younger student has the abilities to move on to the older group — give them that option! Talk to the parents and students about what they can expect, and then let them choose to (A) move to the older group or (B) become a Club Helper.
So that’s Crunch Club in a nutshell
(Hardy har har…)
I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have any questions about the club, feel free to comment below and I’ll get back to you!
Up Next: The Older Kids. Stay tuned for more musings…