Thursday, October 17, 2013

Music Play on the Overhead Projector {Music Activities for Kids}

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Here's a unique music activity for kids using an overhead projector that encourages gross motor and imaginative play. It's also a great way to work on naming piano keys and the musical alphabet.

Learn about music by playing a giant piano using an overhead projector from And Next Comes L

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I recently scored an overhead projector, a projector screen, and some clear overhead transparencies at a garage sale.  It was an absolutely amazing find!  And if you're familiar with the blog at all, then you know that we love our light table, so I just knew that the boys would love playing with the overhead projector as well.

For the first few days, I let the boys explore the overhead projector on their own terms without any specific goal in mind.  I mostly wanted them to get used to how it functions and discover, on their own, what the overhead projector can do.  Once they got comfortable with how it worked, I set up our first official overhead projector activity.  And it was music themed!

Simple Music Activity for Kids: Giant Piano Keyboard on the Overhead Projector

Since I have an entire box of clear overhead transparencies to use up, I don't feel too bad marking some of them up permanently.  So using a ruler and a black permanent marker, I drew a piano keyboard onto the transparency sheet.  That left us with a giant piano keyboard projected onto our screen (a plain wall or white sheet works just as well).

Create a giant piano for kids to play with using an overhead projector from And Next Comes L

K was napping when J tried out this activity and when K did check it out, he had little interest in it.  However, J loved this activity.  Plus, I discovered that J is actually getting pretty awesome at identifying piano keys.

J started off this activity by slapping individual piano keys while singing a song (see first picture at the top of this post).

Next, I asked him if he wanted to help label the piano keys.  He agreed so I handed him the letters of the musical alphabet (A-B-C-D-E-F-G).  The letters he used are our homemade light table letters.  Without any assistance from me, J correctly labeled all the piano keys.  I had no idea that he knew all of the names of the keys yet, but by the end of this activity, I was confident in his note naming abilities.  He just turned four and apparently, he has already mastered an useful beginner piano concept.

Labeling the piano keys on the overhead projector from And Next Comes L

Once he labeled all of the keys, J went back to the screen.  I talked to him about scales, where we play a series of notes in a row such as C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C.  He then "played" a scale for me by slapping the piano keys.

Playing labeled piano keys using an overhead projector from And Next Comes L

To challenge him a bit more, I recited note names for him in a random order.  He would slap the names as I said them.  Due to my musical background, I also sang the notes of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and had him play me the song using the note names that I sang.  J quickly caught onto the pattern of the song and was able to repeat most of the song back on his own.

Playing labeled piano keys using an overhead projector from And Next Comes L

K has been really obsessed with Beethoven's Fifth Symphony so I have showed both him and J how to play the opening notes on the piano (a real one).  I physically helped them play the notes, but emphasized the note names.  Out of nowhere, J surprised me again and started singing and playing the opening notes (G-G- Eb). Crazy stuff!

I then pulled the letters off the screen and quickly quizzed him to slap the note names I called out.  He got every one right.  I guess we'll have to move onto formal piano lessons soon.  Good thing I know a great piano!

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  1. Gosh this is so cool! Not sure how I missed it in your feed but glad I saw it now! I love the key labeling idea but it also just looks fun to play the piano on the wall like that!

    1. The joys of Facebook, right? And yes, it's definitely fun to play on an oversized piano!

  2. This is the second post I've seen on your blog and another great activity. I can't wait to read more. I love that the piano is so big. That's great for the little kids.

    1. Awe thanks, jmommymom! I love the oversized piano keys too!

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