I am thankful that music has taught me...
Are you thankful for music?
In this week of Thanksgiving, I thought I would reflect on all of the life lessons that I have learned from being a musician. I am very thankful that music provided me with a safe outlet to learn all of these skills, and it is my hope that my work as a teacher and composer is helping me to pass these skills on to others, too!
I am thankful that music has taught me...
Musicianship Monthly for November
A new month means a new opportunity to incorporate a fun musicianship skill into your lessons! (Want to learn more about Musicianship Monthly and see past activities? Click HERE!)
This month, we will be exploring chord symbols and lead sheet playing using a song that is perfect for Thanksgiving: "Simple Gifts." Keep reading for two free lead sheets (easy and intermediate level) that you can use with your students this month!
A Free Thanksgiving Lead Sheet!
When it comes to holiday music, Thanksgiving often seems to be overlooked. There are hundreds of well-known Christmas songs--yet how many songs can you think of that are associated with Thanksgiving?
Today's freebie features a classic tune whose lyrics were inspired by a Thanksgiving poem. In 1844, author Lydia Maria Child wrote a poem entitled "The New-England Boy's Song about Thanksgiving Day" inspired by her childhood memories of visiting her grandfather's house. This poem was later paired with a traditional tune to create the song we now know as "Over the River and Through the Woods," which is often sung during the holiday season.
Today I am sharing a lead sheet activity featuring this famous tune that gives your students a chance to practice their harmonizing skills! This tune can be harmonized using just the primary chords in the key of C major: I, IV, and V7. To complete this worksheet, students will play the given melody, then choose the primary chord that they think works best and write it on the lines provided above the staff. Each primary chord will be used more than once.
Once students have filled in their chosen chords, they can play the complete song and experiment with a variety of left hand accompaniment patterns, such as blocked, broken, or waltz-style chords. More advanced students might also enjoy the extra challenge of transposing this tune, along with their chosen primary chords, to a different key.
Click HERE or on the picture above to download your free copy of this Thanksgiving lead sheet!
What do you think? Will you be assigning any special activities for Thanksgiving this year? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!
Thanksgiving Music (No, Really!)
Ah, Thanksgiving, the “black sheep” of musical holidays. Sandwiched as you are between Halloween and Christmas you never had a chance.
So, what is a teacher to do when students request a Thanksgiving song? Check out this handy list of Thanksgiving song suggestions!
Gilbert DeBenedetti’s G Major Music Theory (Elementary to Early Intermediate Levels): This is a great website to find theory worksheets for your older students, as well as free sheet music for all levels. Click on the link to find free Thanksgiving songs for Primer to Level 3 students.
Susan Paradis (Elementary Level): Lots of great teaching resources for younger students including games, composition worksheets, sheet music and much more! Click on the link to see Susan's post of free Thanksgiving hymns.
“Candy Corn Jive” (Late Elementary Level): My own original piece, featuring a Jerry Lee Lewis-style teacher duet that will have your students rockin’ and rollin’! Click the link to see and hear this piece on Sheet Music Plus.
“Simple Canon” (Early Intermediate Level): My own medley of two favorite pieces: “Simple Gifts” and “Pachelbel Canon,” appropriate for both Thanksgiving and Christmas! Click the link to see and hear this piece, part of my "Medley Magic" songbook available from Piano Pronto.
Do you teach Thanksgiving songs? What are your favorites? Please share in the comment section below!
Chrissy Ricker is a pianist, teacher, and composer from North Carolina. These are her thoughts on teaching, composing, and all things music.
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