I thought it might be helpful to share a lesson plan from one of my most recent group classes this summer. We did an American-themed group class, in honor of Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. Here were our activities:
- Ice Breaker: Patriotic Name That Tune: Each student received a slip of paper with one line from a patriotic tune to sight-read for the class. Songs included “Star-Spangled Banner,” “Yankee Doodle,” “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag.” I was happy to find that students guessed every song correctly!
- Listening/Composer Activity: Scott Joplin: We learned about ragtime, the life of Scott Joplin, and listened to excerpts from his most famous rags, “Maple Leaf Rag” and “The Entertainer.” Students were really surprised to learn the “Maple Leaf Rag” was the first piece of sheet music to sell more than one million copies. I asked them to guess how much Scott Joplin was paid for the sale of each copy. (Answer: 1 penny!)
- Performance Practice: Each student came prepared to play three songs for the class. We reviewed recital etiquette, and students shared a little background information about each piece they played with the group.
- Ensemble Playing: We worked on a duet version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” with students rotating so that each person had a chance to play both the primo and secondo parts.
Students really enjoyed this American-themed class. In past years, I have done other patriotic group classes with activities including watching a video of a performance of the “1812 Overture” (with real cannons!), learning about John Philip Sousa, and playing a trio arrangement of “Yankee Doodle.”
What do you think? Do you have any group classes planned for your students this summer?