Halloween is my favorite time of year as a teacher! It provides so many opportunities to learn in a fun way with all of my string classes. I am sharing two orchestra games now. My students love these two games. You can modify for any music classroom whether you are teaching beginning orchestra, Suzuki violin, beginning strings class or even elementary music!
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About the Music Activities in this Blog:
At the moment I teach both beginning orchestra students and Suzuki violin students. I direct an orchestra program. I also teach at the University of New Mexico as a program coordinator. There I teach weekly Suzuki violin group classes. Since I do both, often I use the same idea for both beginning orchestra and Suzuki group classes. I simply modify it for the size specifics of the class I need to teach. So you can use this posts whether you teach beginning orchestra or Suzuki group classes just as effectively!
Two Fantastic Halloween Games For Your String Classes
The Mummy Orchestra Game
This may sounds silly. However the kids really love it. Rationale of the orchestra game: to work on straight wrists in both right and left hands. The Game: All students in class get to “mummify” their wrist as shown in the picture below. You can either choose left or right wrist depending on the technical level of your students. Or do it on different days for left and right hands. The students play their regular pieces. They cannot take the mummy off until they all play with straight wrists. The orchestra game is finished when everyone has taken their “mummy cast” off and has “won over” the mummies. You can very well make this into a 3-5 day unit working with different pieces and switching between right and left hand. Great way to add some fun the week before or after Halloween. To implement the game, you can use certain kids to play solo, work in teams (one student is the mummy the other one works on their wrist), or have the whole class play. The possibilities to apply this game to your classroom are endless! The kids really love this! I have done this game both in orchestra and Suzuki group classes.
Bat on the Violin
This is a popular activity. You can do it with a small toy (anything you have available in the orchestra classroom). You can also use a piece of candy around Halloween. Rationale of the orchestra game: to keep violins and violas straight The game: As the students are playing, simply place a small toy (or candy) on their violin. If the instruments are not straight and positioned correctly, then the toy would fall. I ended up buying small Halloween bat toys (in my local store). It worked out great because the students were having fun with NO candy involved. I bought my bat toys in the dollar store-always a great place to visit when you want to get creative in the classroom. What do the cellos do: They can act like teacher asstants. Sometime when I have cellos who would not keep their head straight I put the candy/bat on their head. It forces them to do that!
Extra Resources with Halloween Games and Activities:
Here is a second post with different activities and orchestra games you can use in your classroom! It has a variety of orchestra games and music activities about utilizing music theory, listening and working on basics. Check below.