Sunday, November 15, 2015

Week Ten in Review (Nov. 9 - Nov. 13)

Greetings from the music room! It was another exciting week of singing, moving, and playing instruments! Here are some of the highlights:

Kindergarten students were formally introduced to the words loud and quiet as those words pertain to music. In addition to practicing their loud and quiet singing voices through the song Lucy Locket, students were also led in a discussion about the loud and quiet sections of the chant Five Little Monkeys Hanging in a Tree.  Students also responded to loud and quiet music on the piano by tiptoeing for quiet music and stomping for loud music. Additionally, students listened to short melodies sung loudly or quietly by our puppets Beatrice and Bo and then echoed those melodies using an appropriate singing voice. Lastly, students enjoyed making their voices imitate the ups and downs of roller coasters and water slides. This sort of vocal exploration helps students explore the range of their singing voice and promotes in-tune singing.

First grade students added drums and rhythm sticks to Yankee Doodle this week as we continued to explore the song's musical phrases. Once students could successfully play their instrument at the correct time in a seated circle, they were then asked to play their instruments while moving around the room. The students commented that it sounded like a parade! Students also explored patterns of long and short sounds (quarter notes and eighth notes) by using the chant Queen, Queen Caroline. Students were asked to say long for the long sounds (quarter notes) and short-short for two short sounds (eighth notes). Once students were successful, they were asked to speak this rhythm while tapping the steady beat on a beat chart. This was quite the challenge, but with a little practice students quickly improved. Students also began reading high and low (sol and mi) patterns on a two-line staff and practiced responding physically to high and low sounds played on the xylophone. 

Second grade students continued to focus on sol and mi this week as well as quarter notes, eighth notes, and quarter rests. Students used the song I Pop Up to practice sol and mi as well as solo singing! Each student created a sung call that other students could respond to by 'popping up'. For example: "If you like ice cream, pop up." Students also responded to sol and mi played on the xylophone by placing their hands on their shoulders for sol and their hands on their knees for mi. Students were also introduced to a series of sol-mi flashcards which will help them to practice patterns that begin on mi as well as sol. Students began learning a new song called Pease Porridge and the partner game that accompanies this song. This song will be used to practice quarter rests. Students  played two rhythm games this week. Both games allowed students to practice quarter notes, quarter rests, and eighth notes. One game involved the rapid memorization of four beat patterns and the other game allowed students to choose a correct answer from among five possible choices.

Third grade students did an exceptional job at completing the challenge level of the activity Four Beats After that we began last week. In the challenge level, students were asked to perform a body percussion canon four beats after the teacher while listening to recorded music (Old Time Rock and Roll by Detroit musician Bob Seeger). Students were able to keep this rhythm canon going until the end of the song! This activity is designed to prepare students for singing rounds and canons. In addition, students focused heavily on melodic notes mi re and do this week. Students were introduced to the five line staff and the numbers of its lines and spaces. Students were given individual staff boards and were asked to place pom poms on the given line or space. Students were also shown how mi re and do are arranged on the staff. Students were asked to write several mi re do patterns using their staves and pom poms. Students also worked extensively on singing mi re and do in-tune. Students were led in several vocal exercises designed to help them sing in the proper range and with adequate breath support.

Fourth grade students reviewed the song Tideo and the movement activity that accompanies it. Students then decoded the section of the song that contains sixteenth notes by choosing the correct answer from among four possible choices. Not only were students asked to choose the correct answer, they were also asked to explain why the other choices were incorrect. Students then reviewed how to count sixteenth notes (1e+a) and were led to discover that sixteenth notes can occur on beats other than the first. Students then practiced identifying a clapped rhythm from among four choices. Students also listened to sections of Prokofiev's Piano Toccata Op. 11 and discovered that the entire composition is filled to the brim with sixteenth notes. Lastly, students reviewed the letter names of the treble clef staff with a pirate treasure themed interactive whiteboard game.

Fifth grade began learning about syncopation this week through the songs Land of the Silver Birch and Canoe Song. In addition to using these songs to introduce syncopation, these songs also provided an opportunity for students to apply the knowledge they have learned in their Native American social studies unit. Land of the Silver Birch and Canoe Song are Canadian folk songs that have been contrived in imitation of Native American music. Students were led in a discussion about the elements of each song that can be attributed to Native Americans and what clues tell us that these songs are not authentically Native American. In addition to singing each of these songs, students were asked to perform rhythmic ostinatos that were transferred to drums or xylophones. Lastly, students were introduced to the number counting for dotted quarter notes and eighth notes. 

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