Garbage bins and music theory!

These cute monsters have been a huge hit in my music studio this term – from my very young beginners up to my older teenagers!

I love music studio competitions and have always found them to be highly motivating amongst my students. Since September we have been playing ‘Garbage Monsters’, and at the start of term I pinned up a leaderboard in my waiting area and made sure I had plenty of those mini post-it notes (post-its are so useful for teaching, don’t you think?).

There hasn’t been any prizes on offer but that hasn’t dampened enthusiasm. Students come through the door and immediately check to see if they have kept their position on the leaderboard. They play for the honour of winning!

Whilst great fun, the serious aim has been to improve note recognition and reading. For each question I drag five notes that the student knows into position on the stave and either ask them to name or play the notes. Sometimes I let students drag the notes and I have also asked them to spell musical words like ‘CAFE’ or ‘ADDED’, for example.

It has been great for interval reading too, and for my beginner pianists has been ideal for practising steps and skips and making sure they don’t get stuck in that five finger position around middle C!

There is a little video below of the game in action and more information about the collection of games it belongs to here. I’m looking forward to seeing who tops the leaderboard next term!

What has been the highlight of your studio this year and do you hold mini competitions with your students?

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