Review Time!

It’s week 8! I was the preparation for the BIG unit test! Of course, it also was the week our students took the Terra Nova test. I don’t know about you but, I know our kids can be a little crazy these days! I think it’s because of sitting in a chair for hours on end… in silence! By the end of the day, they just want to play! I can oblige.

A quick tuning and then let’s get busy with a review of our C, G, D, Em, and G7 chords. I let students choose what songs they want to play for this bit. Remember that I am using the Guitar For Kids Method & Songbook with a lot of fun pop tunes that kids know. They chose Hokey Pokey, ABC, and You Are My Sunshine. Now to rest the fingers they watch a brief video of Elvis singing Hound Dog. Discussion Question: Why was this video so controversial when it first aired on TV?

Most kids have no idea. “TV was in black and white!” One student, invariably says, “It looks like he’s twerking”. Excellent time to make connections between music of the past and music today. Then we play Hound Dog. The down up strumming is something that kids can do well if the pattern is always down up. Up to now, students have been using their thumb or nail side of their index finger to strum the chords down. I instruct students to use the index finger do strum down and the thumb to strum up. Tell students to touch finger and thumb together on the finger pad and strum down up. Now they’re ready for a pick. I have a pickpunch in my classroom and I use old gift cards to make picks for students. Getting the pick out of the sound hole is an “after class” activity. If it goes in only you, the teacher, should be in charge of getting it out. Play through Hound Dog at least twice if you can. Don’t forget the “Rock Star” ending!

While all of this is going on, I’m trying to hammer home the idea of the G progression and what chords makes up the G progression. I want students to make the connection that groups of chords keep showing up together. On to Brown Eyed Girl. Students see this as a challenge because the chord changes are every measure. When this happens, I have them put their finger on the paper and we read through each chord out loud making sure to include repeats. For the first line we would say, “G, G, G, G, C, C, C, C, G, G, G, G, D, D, D, D”. We only got one chance to play through this due to time – where does the time go?

Quickly switching gears from chords to melody we go to pg. 28 for notes on string 3. Quickly echo me without looking at the book. Students take turns giving us G and A combinations and we echo. Show them the G and A on the staff. Since they play this G on the recorders, they can easily remember this note! Every class played example 1 with ease. From here I let them choose between Au Clair De La Lune and Birthday Song. I give them about 5 minutes to try and play through on their own. About 1/3 of the students can play through their song by the end of the time. With more practice, I know they all could play the songs! Unfortunately, we do not have that luxury.

Quick test review time! We reviewed all the questions that would be on the exam! Parts of the guitar, chords we know, string names. I think they’ll do just fine!

We shall see…