Ice Breaker Activity: Bach podcast and "Bach or Not?" game.
Our first activity was listening to the wonderful Bach podcast on the "Classics for Kids" website, which can be found HERE. This short podcast talked a bit about Bach's life and featured snippets of some of Bach's most famous pieces of music.
Once we finished the podcast, we played a game called "Bach or Not?" To play this game, I typed up a list of Bach facts, some true and some false, and placed them in a box. (For example, one fact read: "Bach had a very small family with only a few children." Answer: NOT!) Each student drew a fact from the box, read it out loud, and we discussed whether it was "Bach or not." This was a great review of the information we learned from the podcast.
Performance Activity: Playing Music by Bach
Encourage students to prepare a piece by Bach to share with the group! Here is a list of free sheet music sites where you can find pieces by J.S. Bach:
- G Major Music Theory, click HERE (beginner to early advanced)
- Making Music Fun, click HERE (beginner to intermediate: scroll down and look under "Great Composers" at each level)
- IMSLP, click HERE (this is a huge list of works in original form)
Ensemble Activity: Piano Maestro
For a different kind of ensemble activity, take a look at the free Bach pieces with backing tracks available through the Piano Maestro app. At the time of my class, the available free pieces included "Musette" for Level 1, "Minuet in G major" and "Toccata" for Level 2, and "Minuet in G minor" for Level 3. Students really enjoy taking turns playing these pieces along with the backing tracks, and it is great sight-reading practice too.
What do you think? Have you ever done a composer-specific group class? Please share your ideas in the comments!