Coming up with creative ideas to encourage children (and adults!) to do ear training can be a challenge. That’s why we were thrilled to recently discover two great Christmas-themed workbooks by Amber Staffa. They are ideal for use by classroom or private music teachers to take advantage of well known Christmas songs to help children develop their musical ear and composition skills.
Amber has generously offered to give away a copy of “All I Want for Christmas is Ear Training” to Easy Ear Training readers. See details below on how to enter!
Volume 1: All I Want for Christmas is Ear Training
Amber’s first workbook “All I want for Christmas is Ear Training” contains the score of 6 popular holiday songs, including Jingle Bells and Silent Night. Every 2 bars the song has a note floating above the staff, and the student has to work out the pitch by ear and write the note in.
The exercises can be used by music classroom teachers, private instrument teachers or by parents at home. The worksheets are beautifully designed and can be used for any instrument. The songs also increase in difficulty so can be used with a wide range of students. Depending on the musical level of the child they can attempt to guess the notes completely by ear (e.g. using solfa) or use their instrument to work it out. It is also great for the students to practice their notation.
This is a great festive exercise to help children develop their relative pitch with songs which are well-known, fun and festive.
Volume 2: Christmas Gets a Makeover
The second volume “Christmas gets a Makeover” aims to guide students through the process of composing. Beginner composers can be overwhelmed by possibilities, so the idea of this workbook is to use the rhythm of well-known Christmas songs, and have the students just change the note pitches. This exercise can also be flipped around so the notes can be kept the same and the students just need to change the rhythm.
The workbook has the original score for each song followed by space for the student to compose their own melody, or alternatively melody with bass line or chords.
One of the best things about this workbook is that it can be used in so many different ways depending on the students’ music and composing experience. Amber outlines some other great ways it can be used in the introduction to the workbook.
This workbook is ideal for overcoming that initial barrier to composition, and from Amber’s experience “students who started composing with this activity tend to give more structure to their subsequent compositions, moulding their ideas into phrases instead of single notes”.
Both workbooks can be purchased from Teachers Pay Teachers for a remarkably affordable price and will provide teachers and parents with a range of fun new activities to do with their students at Christmas time.
Win a free copy! Amber has kindly offered to give away a free copy of the “All I Want for Christmas is Ear Training” workbook to an Easy Ear Training reader.
To be in with a chance to win, leave a comment on our Facebook page here before midnight UTC on the 20th December, and we will announce the winner on the 21st December. Happy Holidays!
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