Looking for new and fresh Suzuki group class lesson plans and ideas? I do this game with my Suzuki violin group classes every year and both students and parents love it! It started in an improv class I am teaching and very quickly spread to all Suzuki violin group class levels!
Tell us what you did during the break…using only your instrument!
Suzuki Violin Group Class Game for Beginning of the School Year
Why this Game:
This game was born after one of my Suzuki classes teaching Suzuki Bk 3 students about improvisation. I do this game with my kids at the university’s prep school at the beginning of each semester now. It is a great way to connect with students by asking them about their break and apply that to music at the same time. It helps students to think creatively. It gets them out of their comfort zone and it is a great deal of fun for them. At the same time it is a “lighter” activity that helps students get back on track after the holidays or a longer break. It helps me break down the intensity of a more technical lesson. Or it helps me ease students into the school year.
This activity can be done at any age Books 1-5. The younger students will have very simple instructions. The older ones will get more complicated tasks to engage them. Usually students and parents enjoy this activity quite a lot! The students love sharing about their time spent during the holidays. They also enjoy when the rest of the kids have to guess about it.
The students form a circle. They need to create a sound, sequence of sounds, or a short melody representing one activity they did during the summer break. The students get a few minutes to practice their melody. Every student plays from the class showing the rest of the students what they did during their break. The rest of the students try to guess what the performing student did during his break. After three wrong guesses the students tells them the activity.
The game can be very short or it could last almost the whole class. That would depend on the teacher’s instructions, how many students get to perform as well as the size of the class. This could also be a good activity to break and do over a few classes if the students like it. This way you would provide a nice break or a game at the end of class.
Examples of the activity:
The youngest ones would pick only one sound to identify the activity they did during the break. For example a slide may mean that have been ice skating. One steady note only may mean that they were sick/ bored, etc. A higher pitched tone may mean a happy summer, etc. I would instruct young students to choose only one sound to start with to keep it simple.
Older students would be instructed to create a more complete story in music. They would be asked to come up with different sounds and melodies that can identify their activities during the break and present them as one musical composition. At the later parts of the Suzuki instruction the students get very experiences at reproducing sounds and melodies. You may hear them playing the tunes from video games, favorite movies, etc. They will have a lot of fun with that. If they find the experience fun but difficult to accomplish from the first time, then the teacher will give them the instruction and leave the activity as HW.
This can be a great start for a sequence. Every time the students’ melodies will get more complicated. They would be assigned HW to practice their melodies at home.
This would be a Suzuki activity getting the students out of their comfort zone. It is important for the teacher to model first and give them examples, or choices of what they could do. I always start and model the activity for the students to ease students’ anxiety. I also model different melodies that they may choose to include so that they have a starting point. If a student doesn’t feel comfortable playing in front of class, then they get to watch and I ask them again at the end whether they have changed their minds. It is also important to respect of a students feels shy to do it. I have done this with students who feel uncomfortable playing, but have great fun listening and interacting with the other students.