Sunday, April 25, 2010

Kindergarten Week 3 -- the same, similar and different

Being able to recognize when things are the same, when they are similar and when they are completely different is essential to being able to classify and organize things and an important musical skill. For this reason we spent a good amount of lesson time in Kinder this week talking about how a variety of objects including the chakere's from last week's lesson. We did manage to get in some singing and dancing as well, beginning with the Spanish body part song "Mi Cuerpo" and ending with the similar song in English, "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes."

First Grade Week 3 -- Aerophones and pitch

This week in First Grade music we continued our study of instruments by focusing on aerophones -- instruments that make music through a vibrating column of air. This would include woodwinds, horns and reeds such as clarinet or saxophone. The kids learned that some of the earliest flutes were often made to resemble birds, most likely because of the sound they made. We also spent a fair amount of time focusing on the concept of pitch -- the relative highness or lowness of sound.

Homework -- Aerophone worksheet

Recorder Ensemble - "Air" (first 8 measures)

Recorder Cats -- here's the first 8 measures of our new piece "Air", slowed down so you can practice it. The pitch pattern is D-D-D-C-B-A-G-A then low D-E-F#-G-A-B-C-D-B-A The last two notes are the pick up to the next phrase -- B-C

Work on this a bit this week and I will be going over the rest of the piece at rehearsal on Friday.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Kindergarten Week 2 -- Patterns in Music

Mr. A, who is compiling video clips for a larger kindergarten project, was kind enough to share this snippet from Friday's lesson on patterns. The kids have been learning about patterns -- especially AB pattern as part of their math instruction and we spent some time looking at how this idea of patterns applies to music. In the video clip, for example, students are developing a hand jive to accompany the the A section of "Bam Chi Chi Bam," a Jamaican folk tune. The kids were able to observe that the phrase "Bam Chi Chi Bam" is actually an ABA pattern itself. Apart from reinforcing the math standards, the goal here is get kids to think about how to keep their music organized so they can make it together more effectively.

Homework: Chakere coloring worksheet

First Grade Week 2 -- How Drums Work

This week in first grade music we focused on drums -- how they can classified as membranophones -- drums with skin heads such as the kettle drum in the photo and idiophones -- drums and other percussion where the instrument itself is what vibrates to produce sound. We also talked about how drums likely developed in hunter/gatherer cultures. It wasn't all science in history, however. The kids learned two songs they seemed to have a lot of fun with -- "Everybody Born in ___________ Skip Around" and "Apples, Peaches, Pears and Plums."

Homework -- Complete Membranophone/Idiophone Worksheet

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Kindergarten Week 1 -- We hear with our ears

We had a terrific first week in Kindergarten music. It was wonderful to meet all the new students (by now they all veteran students, but they are mostly new to me). We learned a wonder train song from Zimbabwe, "M'bombera," which the students sang and played an accompaniment on shakers we made.

The emphasis throughout was how we use our ears, eyes and sense of touch in music to organize sensory input. In the upcoming weeks we will, of course, be talking about how this can be turned into output -- making a joyful in an organized way.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

First Grade Week 1 -- the science of sound

We had a great first day in First Grade music today. After a warming up with a Dr. Suess chant -- "Sing With A Ying" -- the kids and I conducted a series of experiments to learn how sound works. We made observations, not just with our ears, but also with our eyes and our sense of touch (as in the picture of the temples bowls seen here). This is a prelude to a 10 week discussion of how the different families of instruments make different kinds of sounds or timbre and how those sounds can be used to express different ideas. Last year we were able to use these ideas to create a musical version of one of their open court stories, and I hope to do the same this year.

Homework -- Worksheet #1

Street Songs -- Gunild Keetman

Hey Orff Ensemble Cats -- I hope everybody had a great break. Here is a recording of one of the pieces I want us to learn for the June concert. It is probably the most famous Orff piece ever written. And as we discovered today in rehearsal, it requires 3 mallet technique. Are you up to the challenge?