Like most teachers, I always have an eye out for things that I can use when I am teaching. I came across a great set of twenty Chopsticks in the dollar store. Not only are they just the right weight to be used as rhythm sticks, but they are also durable, nice looking, and safe to use near the piano. At ten cents a set, I simply couldn’t pass them up. Now, I find myself using them almost every day, especially with my younger students. Here are some of the ways my students and I use chopsticks to have fun and learn about music. Here are 10 great piano teaching games using chopsticks.
We practice tapping a steady beat along with you or with the metronome.
We sing the words to whatever piece is being learned while we click the chopsticks to a steady beat.
I sing the note names to a piece as I follow along using a chopstick to tap each note on the page as I go. (each quarter note gets one tap: two for the half notes etc.)
We mix it up and click the chopsticks together on quarter notes, tap the bench for half notes, and shake the chopsticks in the air for rests.
I use a Chopstick to point to random notes and markings on the page and have my students tell me what the note is or what the marking means.
We had fun learning basic conducting patterns while listening to some great music.
I have my students place chopsticks under rhythmic values to provide a hands-on visual example of the value of each note.
We play a copycat game, playing rhythmic sequences and playing them back to one another.
We click and tap rhythm examples from a Chopstick rhythm worksheet. This can be done with or without the metronome. We can increase the tempo to make the patterns more challenging.
Read the post “Convincing Kids to Count Rhythm”
The 10 great piano teaching games using chopsticks work out great. The activities really helped my students grasp basic rhythmic concepts and learn to keep a steady beat. They are a perfect change of pace when a student needs a break from playing from the book. Students can do the Chopstick activities right on the piano bench no extra space is needed. They fit easily into the piano activity bag that I take with me when I teach. Best of all, they are so inexpensive each of my students can have their own set.
Our printable Chopstick Rhythm Worksheets are available by clicking the link Chopstick Rhythm Worksheets
But wait! Those are only nine great things you can do with Chopsticks and I promised 10 great piano teaching games using chopsticks…
Sorry, I just couldn’t resist:)
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Here are the exact chopsticks I found at a store called “Just a Buck” in Cleveland they were a pack of 20 for $1. I found this pack of 40 on Amazon. You can use any type you like.
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