Upside-Down Compositions

Sometimes my best (and most successful) teaching ideas are the spur-of-the-moment ones that I just sort of think up at the last second. Today I had a student arrive without her books (and she had not practiced much this week), so I grabbed my staff flannel board and some black felt notes.

I first had her review the notes in a C Major five-finger scale (a great note-reading review as well as a review of her scales!) by building the scale on the flannel board. I then had her build a C Major chord as well (my students surprisingly mix up chords and arpeggios all the time - I tell them to sing "ar - pe - ggio!" while playing the three notes of the arpeggio, and to sing "chord" when playing a chord - it seems to help a bit!).

I then allowed her to make up her own short song with any notes in the bass clef. She LOVED this (I have found that most young children LOVE making up their own music....let's take that and run with it, shall we??) and came up with this song:

I then had her play it on the piano (an EXCELLENT note-reading exercise - and she did very well considering she is in level 2 of Faber's My First Piano Adventures...barely into note reading!).  I told her afterwards that we were going to do something super cool with her song. I added an upside-down treble clef at the end of her song...

...and then flipped the whole thing over!

She was excited to see that this had created an entirely new song in the treble clef! We had fun playing it and seeing what it sounded like (naming all the notes as we went...great review!).

I decided to send her home with some blank staff paper and I assigned her to write a short song (using the notes of a predetermined five-finger scale, to keep it simple and easy to play in one hand position), and then to flip it over and play the upside-down version!

Here is one we did in the C Major five-finger position:

You flip it over and you're in a nice F position - easy for small hands.

Voila - a fun and simple note-reading/five-finger scale/composition exercise! Goodnight all!

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