It’s such an exciting time of year as we enter the holidays and students are preparing for Christmas recitals and performances.
Today I’m sharing a free printable resource that will allow you to take a step away from drilling those holiday pieces and spend a few minutes on ear training.
The great thing about this resource is it’s simple to use. You can spend as much or as little time on this during your lesson as you wish and you can tailor the activities to meet the goals you have for individual students.
I’m sharing five different ways to use this resource –then you can decide how to use this with each student. You may choose one activity for your younger piano students and another for your more advanced students.
1. Identify whether the Christmas tune is in a major or minor key.
Simple and straight forward. Go through each song and have the student listen to see whether the sound they’re hearing is major or minor. Then the student will circle the upper-case M for Major or the lower-case m for minor.
2. Name that Tune.
Don’t tell the student which song you’re playing. After they’ve identified the song, complete step one.
The teacher could play the songs on the piano, from their own music collection, or use this YouTube playlist that contains each of the songs from the resource.
3. Play the corresponding triad.
Once students have identified whether the song is in a major or minor key, have them play a major or minor chord that corresponds with their answer.
The teacher can choose the root of the chord, or the student could roll a die (1=A, 2=B, 3=C, etc.) or pull from a pile of alphabet cards to determine the root.
For a bigger challenge, the student could choose from a pile of key signature cards and play the chord that is the first scale degree of the key. The great thing about this option, is there are 12 Christmas tunes, so your students will get practice in all 12 keys.
4. Play by rote (and transpose).
Teach your student the opening phrase by rote.
For an extra challenge, have your student transpose to the parallel key. Major becomes minor and minor becomes major. That will make for some interesting sounds!
If you want to hear more Christmas carols changed from major to minor, check out this video. It’s also included as the last video in the playlist above.
5. Play by ear (and notate).
Play each tune with your hands covered (or move to a different piano) so your student is only using their ears. Have your student find by ear and play back to you.
Stick with C major and A minor for simplicity, or for an extra challenge, move around to different keys.
There you have it! Five different ways to use Christmas Major or minor? I hope you and your students enjoy and that you get a chance to use it this season.
Wishing you the very best as you gear up for the holidays and ALL that includes for us music teachers and musicians.