Based in San Francisco, iteachkids.org is an early childhood education blog by Tiva Lee Samaru. HER posts explore; through videos and other resources - original early childhood education curricula and ideas for enrichment classes, as well as, tips and tricks for classroom management and general childcare.

Visual comparison

Visual comparison

Visual comparison when teaching music theory to children can be a great and effective tool.

Some may ask, isn't a music class for children just more about banging on a drum or two and exposure to instruments and songs? Yes, it can be, but it can also be about a lot more than that. Why stick to the norm when you can find other ways of music exposure.

Being a more inventive and explorative music teacher opens up wider portals - providing more exploration opportunities for your students and more ideas and activities for you. Now, doesn't that sound intriguing?

At iteachkids, we love to find different ways to teach our students music, especially the theoretical aspect of it. From our jellyfish umbrella to our seaweed wordplay prop and raindrop sock|sack, we've always found ways of using visual elements to create exciting music theory-based activities for our students. And today's theme|activity is no exception.

The following activity is an introduction to octaves. Using the paper flag we made in our most recent arts & crafts video, students will be visually guided by the movement of the flag and musically guided with a simple song along 2 octaves - using the notes A, B, C & G. The focus of this activity is to introduce children to these octaves and notes through sight and sound.

How did it go?

Children, most of them, love to sing. Although they are still figuring out what that means and how to effectively do it, they still proudly belt out songs, especially in a music class, well, at least our music classes! So that statement alone should attest to the success of this activity. Additionally, the flag really added that extra level of support we were hoping for. It provided that visual comparison and reference for our students and was the perfect choice for guiding our students through the octaves and the flow of the activity from start to finish. Such a simple prop enabled us the opportunity to create a substantial music education activity, and furthermore, enabled our students to understand it in a more visually applied way.

One suggestion to challenge your students would be to add a few more octaves. Once your students have a good grasp of the basic activity then gradually introduce more octaves. One suggestion to make it easier to grasp would be to introduce the notes used throughout the activity before trying the entire thing. Additionally, maybe run through the movement and the song separately before trying them together.


Take a look!

Since we know you are always on the hunt for more and more activities to add to your teaching repertoire, we decided to share this one with you. The video will show you how we structured the activity and you will be able to hear the octaves we moved through.

Raise Your Flag and Voices,

Tiva & Randa

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