I find that teaching young children is a huge challenge because they seem to have a hard time remembering little things (in one ear and out the other). They can have something totally figured out, but when you ask them to review it at the end of class you get a blank stare. With this in mind, I have also discovered that the best way to stick info solidly in their heads is with something fun – games. They get a kick out of it at the time, but they will also ask “can we do this next week?”.
Last time I was teaching my little students, I was receiving one of those many blank stares when I got an idea (a wonderful, fabulous idea…) – I would try playing “Going out West”. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the game, the players run through the letters of the alphabet one at a time and add their own word with the corresponding first letter. The next player has to repeat the previous word(s) and add his own. It’s a memory game. Example: Bobby’s goin’ out west and he’s bringing an apple, Chris is goin’ out west and he’s bringing an apple and a beaver, Jake is goin’ out west and he’s bringing an apple, a beaver, and a clover, etc. It’s quite a challenge by the time you get to the last letters. Why not do the same thing with notes?
I proposed the idea to the guys and after some explaining they agreed to give it a shot. I started the first note and around the little circle we went. Each person played all the previous notes and then added his own. After a certain amount of notes were in the mix, they started to forget where they were at. So we started again.
Maybe “Going out West” isn’t the most concise name, but I think they will learn a lot from it. Note locations, what sounds good, finger strength, etc. The best part was that they said: “That’s fun! Can we do it again next week?”. I’m sure they also like the competition.