"Yesterday, I got to double strokes with one of my percussion kids, so pulled out the avocado videos. One of them (the beet, cherry, avocado, shh) was one of the older ones (I want to say one of the originals?)- the kids LOVED Mr. Rob's crazy hair.
I am continually impressed by just how many of my classes and groups I can use Prodigies with. I bought it for my preschoolers, but now use it with my elementary general music kids, most of my piano students, basically ALL of my percussion students, because the sweet beets do a much better job of teaching specific rhythm notation than the drum book does, and the performance videos provide drum tracks to play with (and doing bell work on xylophone really teaches accuracy in sticking), and the recorder books and videos with my WindStars students. Ukulele is next up to try to get a class set.
My older kids find it cheesy, but fun. My little ones love Mr. Rob and Ms Sam-and they ALL love Baby Lil!
All told, being a fairly early adopter of prodigies (because I'd just started needing to teach 6 preschool classes a week) has been one of the best investments I've made out of pocket for my classroom.
Starting music lessons with school age kids is different than starting music lessons with preschoolers and toddlers and here we’ll share our best tips for getting started with school age kids." - Donna DeVore Metler
Prodigies Curriculum To Use With School Age Kids
If you’re enrolled in Prodigies and are looking to get started with school age kids, you’ll want to first determine how much experience they have already had with music.
If they’ve had some experience, start with General Music Level 2. This program dives into music theory and more difficult songs and performances.
General Music Level 2 (Level 2) is a more step-by-step curriculum. There’s a heavy emphasis on reading colorful yet properly notated sheet music in the treble clef, and slowly transitioning to black and white music, learning more musical vocabulary, understanding chordal and harmonic relationships through intervals, doing some basic I IV V analysis, ear-training and rhythmic dictations.
The format of Level 2 is longer and more advanced than the videos and sections in Level 1. Instead of featuring just one video per section, most of the sections in Level 2 have 2-6 videos in them. The videos usually consist of one or two lesson videos, a song video, a color and a black and white play-along video, and sometimes listening games, related songs, or more advanced sidebars.
If they’re brand-new to music but a bit older (say a beginner at age 8 or 9), one option is to use Level 1B Chapter 8 to introduce them to the program and assess what they already know. Some older kids might find the Level 1 chapters too easy, but if you allow them to play a few of the more challenging songs, they may come to understand that as a beginner, they can still find meaning in this level of the program.
Like anything, it’s best to begin at the beginning. Explain to your learner that it’s best to begin pitch training and musical learning early, so some of the content is geared toward preschoolers. That doesn’t mean that older kids and even adults can’t learn something new and helpful. With over 700 videos in the program, there’s bound to be something that meets your older child’s needs.
Performance Prodigies is a scrolling sheet music series, that allows students to practice singing, hand-signing and playing without Mr. Rob or Ms. Sam in the video. This series can be a great way to introduce the program to an older kid, who has outgrown the preschool-focused lessons.
You can also find a ton of Orff styled tracks in Performance Prodigies that contain a bell part, a Boomwhacker or chord accompaniment, lyrics, hand-signs and simple percussion parts all at once. A lot of these songs are straight from Level 1 and Level 2 so you can mix and match this videos as you see fit to get your whole class playing on different instruments.
Prodigies offers a variety of series to help keep kids engaged in music. If your older learner doesn’t want to play the bells, Level 1, Level 2, and Performance Prodigies can all be modified for the piano with a set of store bought or homemade chromanotes piano stick-ons (xylophones or glockenspiels works great, too).
If your learner doesn’t want to play the piano or the bells, we offer programs for singing & hand-signing, the recorder and the ukulele.
Melodies consists of short exercises with the Solfege (Curwen) Hand-Signs. These are easy to use when you only have 3-5 minutes of time and/or don’t have any instruments at the ready. Melodies gives learners a chance to memorize Solfege, practice singing and familiarize themselves with the treble clef.
If your older child is ready to move onto other instruments, check out our Recorder Prodigies series. Our step-by-step Recorder program is easy to pair with other popular recorder methods and curriculum. Each section has a lesson or two as well as 3 or more songs in both color and black and white. We've expanded our recorder series a lot in 2022 (now with over 90 video lessons), and you can also use the G A B Performance Prodigies Tracks for lots more scrolling G A B music.
Finally, Holiday Prodigies is a video series that pairs with our Holiday Prodigies songbook. This series is a great tool for planning a successful and joyous (at home or in school) winter recital. The sheet music is complete with Boomwhacker chord accompaniments and contains some of the more difficult songs that we have in the curriculum (Fur Elise, Hanukkah oh Hanukkah, etc). These more difficult songs, even if out of season, are a great way to engage older learners with music.