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Celebrate Valentines Day with a Musical Craft!

Celebrate Valentines Day with a Musical Craft!

Crafts are an every day or just about every day occurrence in my house.

My daughters and I love getting out paint, glue sticks, scissors, pipe cleaner, fuzzy dots and paper to create anything and everything!

One look at the video below and you’ll see how much crafting-love my girls have given to our crafting table alone. ;o)

It’s not every day that I can easily turn a craft into a music lesson, but when we got out the valentine cupcake liners this week, it all clicked. 

Rhythm is one of the most important concepts in music. If you want to learn more about how we sequentially teach rhythm to babies, toddlers, preschoolers and pre-K students, keep reading & check out the rhythm videos below! 

Create basic rhythmic notation with your child in a flash!

It’s super easy, quick and so much fun!

Here’s what you need:

Cupcake Liners

2 Colors of Construction Paper

Scissors

Glue

To create a Quarter Note:
  1. Turn one cupcake liner inside out. 
  2. Glue the underside to the bottom of your first piece of construction paper.
  3. Cut out a long slender piece of your second color of construction paper to make a note stem.
  4. Glue it to the right side of your cupcake liner to make a Quarter note.

 

To create two Eighth Notes:
  1. Turn two cupcake liners inside out.
  2. Glue the undersides to the bottom of your paper next to one another.
  3. Cut out two long slender pieces of another color of construction paper to make two note stems.
  4. Glue the stems to the right side of your cupcake liners to make your eighth note stems.
  5. To make the beam at the top, cut out a slender piece of construction paper (the same color as the stems) and trim it to the width of the two note stems that are already in place.
  6. Glue it to the top of the note stems to finish your two eighth notes.

To create two Sixteenth Notes:
  1. Turn two cupcake liners inside out.
  2. Glue the undersides to the bottom of your paper next to one another.
  3. Cut out two long slender pieces of another color of construction paper to make two note stems.
  4. Glue the stems to the right side of your cupcake liners to make your eighth note stems.
  5. To make the two beams at the top, cut out two slender pieces of construction paper (the same color as the stems) and trim them to the width of the two note stems that are already in place.
  6. Glue them to the top of the note stems with a small space in between the two beams to finish your two eighth notes. 

In a nutshell, what is "Rhythmic Notation?"

We read the English language because of words formed from our English alphabet.

Musicians read music because of the patterns formed by little dark dots you see on a sheet of music called note heads.

When stems, bars/beams or flags are added to the note heads, they assign specific time values to the notes.

When the notes are played in a row with the indicated time values, a rhythmic pattern is formed.

When rhythmic notation is written on a musical staff, it not only communicates rhythm, but also a melody.

A staff consists of 5 lines and 4 spaces with either a treble clef sign at the beginning for middle to high notes on an instrument/voice, or a bass clef sign for middle to low notes on an instrument/voice.

When is the right time to introduce rhythmic notation?

Here at Musik at Home, I teach Musikgarten’s phenomenally well sequenced curriculum for Babies, Toddlers, Preschoolers and Pre-K.

Our mantra is always to introduce musical concepts “sound before sight” (aural before visual).

We want rhythm patterns to become so ingrained in a child’s being and vocabulary that when they finally see the visual representation of the note heads and stems on paper at age 4-5, it will be no big deal for the child to make sense of the different patterns.

We want the sound of the patterns to transfer intuitively to what is seen on paper and vice versa.

In baby and toddler classes we start by introducing rhythm patterns aurally on a neutral syllable, “ba.”

In the preschool classes, we begin again on a neutral syllable “ba” and then gradually advance students to the brilliant rhythm language coined by music researcher, Edwin Gordon.

For simple two beat patterns, he uses the syllables “Du du, du-de (day) du.” These patterns are still only spoken aurally in the preschool level. They are not shown to students on paper so that the aural foundation can take shape first.

Musikgarten introduces graphic notation at the age of 4-5 in the Pre-K curriculum called “Music Makers at Home and Around the World” (which I plan to add to our class offerings here!).

In the Pre-K class level, we begin to show students simple pictures of sound movement. For example, we draw a line moving from the bottom left of the page to the top right of the page to graphically show movement of sounds from low notes to high notes.

Only after introducing this simple idea of graphic notation aurally (by ear) and then on paper (by sight), we begin to introduce the visual representation of rhythmic notation alongside the spoken rhythm language.

We are not as concerned at this point about terminology such as “quarter note, eighth note,” etc. We simply want students to transfer what they have heard aurally into step by step into intuitive notation reading.

Students who go on to take Musikgarten’s keyboard classes will hear the rhythm patterns and see the rhythmic notation again in the context of learning to play the piano.

The sound to sight progression is fascinating! I’ve been able to witness it now for 12 years with hundreds of students in my piano studio!

Students in my piano classes who come to me with a strong foundation in these rhythm patterns as little ones in my early childhood Musik at Home classes learn to play the piano the fastest and have the best content retention rate at ages 5-7.

It's never to soon to start building a child's rhythmic foundation.

Even if your child has never had the chance to repeat rhythm patterns up to this point, it’s never too early or too late to start!

To sign up for a free class & to start your child's rhythm learning, click here! 

No matter how much your child knows about rhythm, it's a LOT of fun to let your child catch a glimpse of music notation with this simple valentine rhythm craft. It can, of course, be done any time of the year with your choice of cupcake liners. :o)

Here is the rhythm pattern we made. You can call it our own rhythm composition! (Du-de is pronounced "du-day.")

Even though we’re not concerned about naming the exact type of notes seen on the page before the keyboard years, it never hurts to let your child hear the words "Quarter Note," "Eighth Note" and "Sixteenth Note" to make these words a part of your child's vocabulary in the early years!

Let's get crafting, singing & chanting! 

Join our Facebook Group & Post pics of your craft! 

Happy Valentine's Day from my home to yours! 

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Comments

  • You are so welcome, Janet and Michelle. I’m elated to hear about your interest in this craft for your kids and students. Seeing music become more a part of life is my passion! Looking forward to posting more ideas and sharing them here in the blog. Feel free to email me at the address above with any questions.

  • How creative. I’d like to use this in my preschool classroom. I’m not a music teacher, but this makes it simple and fun for the kids to think about music notation. Thanks for sharing this idea.

  • Thanks for posting! I love this. I will totally get this going with my kids tomorrow.

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