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Guest Post: Triathalon Speed - Not for the Faint of Heart!
February 19th, 2011 | posted by emily
This month's post comes from a longtime Music Mind Games instructor. She's experienced, inventive, compassionate -- and she happens to be my mother! Here's Colleen Oren:
I may be one of the oldest MMG veterans; I've been using the games since the 1980's when we made them ourselves with Michiko's detailed, carefully worded instructions. She even had notes and rests drawn out so we teachers could trace them correctly. Can you believe that I sewed two octaves of bean bag notes out of felt fabric, then glued cut-out felt letters to each one? And that I had three children, all under the age of 8, at the time? What was I thinking? Thankfully, the games have come a long way, but I continue to consider them an important staple of lesson time every week.
I teach private piano lessons in my home. Some of my students have opted to extend their lessons by an additional 15 minutes in order to have plenty of time for the theory games; in all the other lessons, I do my best to carve out 5 or 10 minutes of the half hour to include the games. (Because I see a noticeable difference in the children who play MMG, I have no problem cutting the piano time a little short.)
Triathalon Speed appeared one day when I was looking for yet another challenge for a more theory-wise student. He was dragging a bit; it had been a long day and we were finishing his lesson after 7 p.m. Then I had an idea, and said "Wake up, Trevor! I have a new game." As the name implies, Triathalon Speed incorporates 3 versions of Speed, and uses the Alphabet Cards, the Rhythm Playing Cards, and the Grand Staff Cards; you could, of course, substitute other sets of cards (such as the Tempo Cards.) The first time I played it, we did this:
Round One: Alphabet Cards (thirds)
Round Two: Rhythm Playing Cards
Round Three: Grand Staff Cards, (seconds)
I barely stopped between each game and dealt cards fast-and-furiously. He was breathless and laughing by the end after trying to sprawl on the floor before we began. His mom, who played with us, was panting...The game is versatile and can include many levels and variations, as you can see. Try it next time your students need an extra challenge. And an added bonus: you're reviewing 3 different things, one right after the other!