Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Preschool String Instrument Activities

Preschool students learn abstract concepts with string instruments.

Preschool is a time of hands-on learning and interactive games that keep the child entertained and curious to learn more. There are several activities that teach children about music through the use of strings. String instruments cater to a child's natural inclination toward experimentation and offer the sensations of hearing, sight and touch.

Sensory Activities

Temperature and balance can be tested with a student-sized violin. Teach the children about the bow and how to balance it between their right thumb, index and middle finger. The child should place the thumb underneath the bow and the other two fingers on top of the bow. To illustrate temperature, teach them how a warm room can increase the pitch of an instrument while a cold room can lower the pitch of an instrument. Do this with a tuner and a box of ice. Place the instrument in the box for several minutes and then play a pitch and measure it with the tuner. Do this again with the violin at room temperature.

Hearing Activities

The violin has four strings that can be plucked to produce a sound. Let the students pluck each string one-at-a-time. Carefully supervise each child as they pass the violin around the room. Talk about the importance of being careful with the instrument. Ask each child to pluck the strings from the thickest to the thinnest string and see if they can hear the difference between the higher strings and the lower strings.

Visual Activities

Show the students a violin, viola and cello. Ask the students which instrument they think will have the lowest sound simply by looking at the instrument. After the students make their guesses pluck the string of each instrument and then ask the students again which instrument is lowest. Explain that they can tell whether an instrument will be high or low just by looking at its size. The bigger the string instrument is, the lower it sounds.

Kinesthetic Activities

Pass the instrument around the room again. Ask the students to feel the difference between the lowest, thickest string and the highest strings. Ask them to describe what each string sounds like. Have them practice kinesthetic senses by pulling the bow over their left arm and noticing how the texture of the bow feels against their skin. Have each student describe what the texture of the bow feels like and whether it was a pleasant or unpleasant experience.