Still teaching virtually?
Some of us are actually finished teaching already, but many of us still have a month to go! Running out of things to do online? You’ve overused Kahoot? You’re just too fried to be creative? Here’s a list of fun things that I’ve done with my virtual classes, and a few ideas from other teachers too!
1. Play a game of Strings Skribbl!
Skribbl.io is an online Pictionary type game, and is lots of fun. And you can use custom words by creating a private room, so just copy and paste the list below to make the game exclusively strings-related! Make sure you check off ‘use custom words exclusively’ if you don’t want random words included. TwoSetViolin and Hilary Hahn have even had a go at it!
Currently, there is a limit of 12 players to a room, so you may have to break up your class into smaller groups. Split up your class into breakout rooms. Then go into each room and create a custom game for them and share the link. It’s pretty easy to get started, and so much fun! One game should occupy your class for at least 30 minutes.
Here are some words to get you started. Just copy and paste them into the game:
violin, viola, cello, double bass, scroll, pegs, nut, fingerboard, neck, strings, bridge, fine tuners, tailpiece, chin rest, sound post, bow, frog, screw, horse hair, viola case, cello case, whole note, whole rest, half note, half rest, quarter note, quarter rest, eighth note, eighth rest, sixteenth note, sixteenth rest, sharp, flat, natural, fortissimo, forte, mezzo forte, mezzo piano, piano, pianissimo, crescendo, descrescendo, fermata, down bow, up bow, D-string, A-string, staccato, accent, slur, tie, treble clef, bass clef, alto clef, time signature, key signature, repeat sign, ledger line, ritardando, music stand, scale, arpeggio, conductor, stage, audience, podium, concert, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Vivaldi, [insert teacher name!]
2. Name That Tune
Have your students come up with part of a song to play for the class and have the class guess. First one to type the answer in the chat wins!
You may want to start off by putting students in groups of 2 or 3 to help each other come up with one or two songs. That way the students who are having trouble coming up with something will have something to contribute.
3. Pop Tune Challenge
Using whatever app you are using to record, like Soundtrap or Garage Band, divide your class into groups to create an arrangement of a pop tune melody that they like. They can use the in-app rhythm sections and mess with the effects, etc. And they can do as much or as little of the song as they like, according to their ability.
You can even have them create a video to go with it.
Winner goes to the most entertaining and creative arrangement!
4. Ring Tone or Jingle Challenge
Learn and play three different ring tones or jingles by ear for bonus marks!
5. Zoom Soundscape
Sure we can’t play traditional music together on Zoom, but what’s to stop us from playing something non-traditional?
First, have everyone ‘Turn On Original Sound’ if you are using Zoom. The instructions are here.
This allows everyone’s sound to be heard at the same time, without too much cutting out of their mics.
Next, try creating these sounds together and then brainstorm new ones:
- Sustaining long notes.
- Sustaining long notes in harmony.
- Random notes
Here is an example of a soundscape to inspire you (not on zoom): Spectre, by Canadian, John Oswald.
Next, send the students off into breakout rooms to create their own 1 to 2 minute soundscape. It helps to give them a theme to work with. For example, the weather, or a scene in nature, or a happy, sad, or scary story. You can brainstorm these ideas together too.
As they create their compositions, they will have to decide how to signal each other to change sounds, do dynamics, etc. They can even add actions for a visual effect.
You might have them make up their own notation for it, and have the entire class follow along and participate. Or, just have a student explain how their composition goes and lead the class.
If you would like to share, I would love to hear your creations! Feel free to email the links to me!
6. Crazy Challenges
Make an envelope full of crazy challenges to do everyday like:
- Play Hot Cross Buns backwards by ear.
- Play [one of your pieces] by reading the music upside-down and backwards.
- Play Twinkle, Twinkle with your bow and instrument in the opposite hand.
- Play a song with the 1st finger only.
- Play the violin or viola standing on one foot (like tree pose).
- Play all the notes to Twinkle, Twinkle in one down-bow.
- Play a song all tremelo or col legno.
Have fun with this one!
7. Rhythmic Dictation Challenge
Share your whiteboard and allow the students permission to draw on it.
Have two teams. One team writes on the left, the other on the right.
One person from each team faces off each other on accurately writing a rhythm you play. They may not erase their answer or correct it.
Because the time delay will be different for each student, you might want to go for accuracy rather than speed and give everyone a point for getting it right.
8. Strings Charades
This one is pretty challenging. You may want to take on this one yourself, or include a talented player or two. Using the instrument only, have people guess what sound you are making.
It may help to give students a clue, like this is an animal. Or this is a sound in your environment.
Make sure you collect all the successful ones for future games!
Here are some YouTube videos of sound effects on the violin to inspire you!
TwoSetViolin, of course, also took this on.
9. Creating Strings Memes
10. Make Promo Videos
Have your students record 10 to 20 second promo videos for your programme! Let them be creative. You might have questions to guide their content.
It can also make a great video for parents at the end of the year!
Hope this helps you end a really crazy year on a high note with your students!
Feel free to suggest more ideas in the comments!