Colorful Music lessons? Yes Please!
Prodigies Music has a huge library of curriculum, resources, and fun activities for kids and parents to jump right into the world of early music ed. Everyone should have access to quality learning materials so we always offer FREE resources too!
These lessons and activities don’t require a membership and can be used and downloaded, no strings attached.
You can also freely share these activities online or on socials – whenever and wherever you know of folks who are looking for colorful and fun music education materials. Help us spread the joy of music!
Several FREE lessons are available on Youtube. Here is our channel link.
Here we combine the videos on our Youtube channel (or parts of them) with interactive play and learning with the Prodigies Music Curriculum and free Bells app with 5 free resources!
Free Activity #1: Play and Count Rhythm with Sweet Beets
You can teach your child or students an easy way to learn rhythm with Sweet Beets, our signature rhythm song. Sweet Beets is similar to the Takadimi method, but instead of using Ta-Ka-Di-Mi, we use fruits and vegetables such as beets for quarter notes, cherries for eighth notes, and later on, avocados for 16th notes, melons for half notes, and watermelons for whole notes. Its super fun and engaging – just follow along with Mr. Rob!
Sweet Beets 1 is the FIRST 5 minutes of this free video (ends 5:15):
A new version of this video is on our Play page and doesn’t require a login to watch.
Sweet Beets 2 introduces more rhythms with avocado and “SHH”:
How to use it in the classroom:
- Project the video to the smartboard or projector, and clap / count along with the kids during the video.
- Then talk through the rhythms and play some of your own call and response rhythms using the beets and cherries.
- Have the students practice with numbers such as 1, 2, 3 and 4 for beet, beet, cherry beet.
- Students can also tap on their desks, play with classroom drums, march in place or around the classroom, or tap the rhythms with their feet. It also works with bucket drumming.
How to use it at home:
- Watch on any device, but one preferably one with a speaker loud enough to have good bass and projection.
- Have your child jump or dance around, calling out the beets and cherries along with Mr. Rob.
- Without the video, practice counting with a consistent, steady beat with a metronome (or metronome app), counting beets or numbers.
When you’re ready to perform Sweet Beets, sing along with Mr. Rob and our full choir of kids in the Sweet Beets Virtual Choir!
Free Activity #2: Learn the C Major Scale and Solfege with C Major Pipes
A core part of the Prodigies method is learning the C Major scale with colors, letter names, solfege names, and numbers. You will need the FREE Prodigies Bells app to follow along. IOS Bells App Android Bells App Kindle Fire HD Kids App
How to use it in the classroom or at home:
- Pre-load the app on any classroom devices available. As the students watch the video, they should sing along and tap their finger on the bell in the C major layout.
- Students can sing along in a group or play along on any classroom instrument by playing the C Major scale (Orff instruments, pianos, keyboards, glockenspiels, etc)
- Once students have learned it, they should be able to sing the solfege scale back to you.
- Make it a game: Sing the first note (Do), then students sing the next note (Re). If its not in tune, ask the students to try again. Repeat, alternating notes up and down the scale.
- Perfect pitch practice: play a note to the students from the bells app. See if the students can accurately identify which solfege pitch it is. Start with easy notes like Low C, G, and E. Regular practice with games like this will help to develop pitch cognition skills (More on this below!)
Free Activity #3: My First Songbook PDF and the Bells App
Using the Prodigies Bells app, or a piano, or any C Major instrument, you can follow along with several FREE songs in our My First Songbook, available here as a free download: https://pages.prodigies.com/my-first-songbook.
How to use it in the classroom:
- After downloading the PDF, project it to the smartboard or projector.
- Students can follow along on instruments or the free bells app on a mobile device.
- Students without an instrument can also sing along.
- Using a laser pointer, point to each note, moving to the next one as students follow along. Try to keep a consistent tempo. You may need to scroll or set the view mode to 2 page display.
- You can print copies for students to work through on a piano or at their desk.
- You can use a metronome to keep them consistent in tempo.
How to use it at home:
- One setup that works well is to use an iPad or a laptop/tablet to display the sheet music, and the Prodigies Bells app to play along with the music.
- Otherwise, you can print the PDF, and have your student follow along on a piano, or prop up the sheet music and play along on the bells app or any instrument.
- Once you’ve mastered a few of the songs or your child can sight read the music, we’d love to see a video!
Free Activity #4: Learn the Curwen Hand Signs with Mr. Rob
A cornerstone of music literacy for early childhood and elementary students is knowing the Curwen Hand Signs. We teach these hand signs and use them throughout the curriculum. These hand signs complement the solfege names of the notes in the C Major Scale.
How to use it in the classroom and at home:
- Learning the solfege hands signs takes time and practice.
- Introduce the video to the students, while walking around and checking each student’s hand positions to make sure they are correct.
- Have the students follow along and sing the notes while handsigning (strengthening the kinesthetic relationship between the pitch and hand sign.)
- Make sure that vertically, the low C hand sign is around the navel area, and the high C hand signs are about chin level. The hands should move up while descending up the C major scale, and move down while descending.
- After watching the video several times, call out random pitches and have your child sing and sign them.
- Make it a game: play a pitch in the C Major scale on the bells app or instrument, and have the kids sing and sign the correct solfege. Mix it up by demonstrating a hand sign, and having the kids identify which note.
- [Classroom] Play “Around the World” – using the game above, challenge students one with each other by seeing who can identify it faster. The faster student moves to the next student and challenges them. The winning student is the one that identifies the most pitches or signs them correctly and wins the most challenges.
- Use this Nursery Rhyme video for extra reinforcement.
For some extreme hand signing and solfege practice, try out some of our free Youtube Shorts of PSP Melodies!
Free Activity #5 – Perfect Pitch Games with the PSP Bells App
The FREE bells app can be used in a variety of ways to teach pitch and chord recognition, as well as playing along with the videos and songbooks. It works great for pitch recognition games.
How to play:
- After thoroughly reviewing the C Major Scale with the videos above, use the bells app to play pitches to the student(s).
- The student should listen with their ears, and without looking, try to identify which note was played. Until the student is more advanced at this skill, start with easy notes such as C and G. These give the students a “home” base for determining the distance/interval from home for a sense of relative pitch.
- Game #1: Simple pitch and recall on individual notes in the C Major Scale. What we spelled out in the previous point: build up to the student being able to recognize all pitches of the C Major scale after hearing it one time.
- This will take daily practice and is not achievable in the first few sessions. With the C Major Videos practice and practice with the app, most kids will learn quickly.
- Gradually speed up the “next note” until the student can do a “lightning round” or speed drill. This moves the student from processing the notes by thinking about it to a subconscious recognition of pitch, like identifying color.
- Game #2: Singing in tune / recall. Play a note on the bells app and have the student SING the pitch. Most students will at first slide up or down to it. Have the student try several times to match the pitch. As the adult/teacher, sometimes you have to guide the student to the note by singing the note that the student is producing, and sliding to where the bell note is, then having the student listen to how the notes match. Gradually, work up to the the student being able to sing any note on command in the C major scale, with help from the bells app at first, then without any reference at all. This is difficult for many kids, so work exclusively with a pitch reference (app) until kids are ready to try.
- Game #3: Two and three note patterns. Play a series of two notes. Start with close notes, like G and A or C and D. Have the student identify which two notes, in succession, were played. Gradually work up to increasing the distance between the notes, and then eventually to three notes in succession.
- Game #4: Chords. In the app under Lesson Bells is a chords feature with C, F, and G. Have the students identify the notes in those chords after you play them, then work up to having them identify these chords in rapid succession.
- Game #5: Chromatic Bells [advanced]. To take the perfect pitch tests to the next level, you’ll need to introduce the chromatic bells to your student, probably on the piano. To start with, I’d recommend teaching the sharps first, and identifying these chromatic pitches as follows. C#, D#, F#, Ab and Bb. If the child understands all sharps or all flats better, that’s fine too, so long as they are identified correctly.
- To start quizzing chromatics, start with G, then F#, moving back to G; or C, to C#, then back to C. So tying the Chromatic note close to the adjacent diatonic (regular) note will help the student.
- Work up and down the scale, identifying notes in the chromatic scale immediately after a regular note.
- Eventually the student will build up these skills and get faster.
- If your child can do a successful pitch test, we’d love to see! Send us a video at email@example.com.
- See if you can beat Michal (4 years old!) in this video:
We hope you enjoyed these free resources and lesson ideas! Here at Prodigies, we try to make music education achievable and within reach of all educators and parents. As always, Happy Musicing!!!
Now, we know you clicked on this blog because you wanted the free activities. However, if you like what you see, we have over 600 videos like these, worksheets and lesson plans available in our membership. We’d love for you to check it out. You can also buy our deskbells in the shop.