Monday, May 9, 2016

Week Thirty Two in Review (May 2 - May 6)

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

Kindergarten students continued to differentiate between high and low sounds this week. Students practiced the dramatic play You Must Pay the Rent and learned a new chant called The King of France. During The King of France, students were asked to march to the steady beat of a drum like soldiers. It was very exciting to watch students march around the room to the beat; several months ago many students were nowhere near able to march to the beat! After marching, students were asked to add xylophones to the chant. Anytime the king referred to soldiers going up the hill, students played an ascending glissando on the xylophone. When the king referred to soldiers going down the hill, students played a descending glissando. Students also explored the upward and downward motion of their voices through a vocal exploration activity called Toss Across. In this activity, students tossed a bean bag to a friend while making their voices follow the shape of the bean bag. Students particularly enjoyed being able to spread out all around the classroom!

First grade students reviewed melodic notes sol mi and la this week. Students were asked to identify these notes as a class by changing notes to the correct color on the interactive white board. Students also practiced sight reading/singing sol and mi patterns. In fact, students began teaching themselves the song Merlin! Rather than echoing patterns after Mrs. Aaronson, students were given a starting pitch and asked to decode the melody on their own. After a student correctly sang the melody, the class was asked to echo that student. Once the piece was completely decoded, the students worked to put the piece together and sing the entire song. Students also began learning a song entitled All Around the Buttercup which contains melodic notes sol mi and la. Students enjoyed singing this song while playing its game. In the game, students gradually added themselves to a train that snaked in and out of the circle. Lastly, students learned a fun dramatic play called You Must Pay the Rent and practiced speaking in high and low voices.
Mrs. Doran's class playing All Around the Buttercup. The train is not very long yet.
The train is getting bigger!
These three ladies are using a 'mustache' a 'hair bow' and a 'bow tie' to play their characters in You Must Pay the Rent.

Second grade students were formally introduced to whole notes this week. Students were led to understand that combing two halves (two half notes) equals a whole (whole note) and that a whole note receives four beats. Students then practiced reading and identifying a series of rhythmic patterns in preparation for the second grade rhythm assessment. Students also continued to review melodic note 'do' through the song Mouse, Mousie. Additionally, students explored many different answers to the phrase "Daddy fishing in a brook, caught a _______ on a hook." Students took turns speaking the sentence rhythmically and inserting their own noun in the blank. Examples of answers include catfish, tire, pizza, and boot.

Third grade students were led in a discussion about last week's field trip to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. As part of this discussion, students shared their favorite part of the concert and expanded upon some of the ideas and activities they experienced. One class held a conversation about different types of instruments. Another class experimented with recreating the sounds of a thunder storm. And yet another class decided to simultaneously sing two non-complimentary songs (London Bridge and Chicken on a Fence Post) in order to imitate a composition from the field trip written by the American composer Charles Ives. Students also began learning a new song containing dotted half notes entitled Wake Up Canon. Students were challenged to find the location of the song's dotted half notes. Students also wrote and sang the solfege for the song Chicken on a Fence Post. Students enjoyed trying to sing the solfege of this song from memory. Lastly, students enjoyed playing another round of Rhythm Go Fish. This rhythm game was designed to prepare students for the third grade rhythm post-assessment next week.

Fourth grade students began a rhythm unit this week. Students reviewed quarter notes/rests, half notes/rests, whole notes, and eighth notes. Students played a rhythm review game while singing the song Black Snake. During this game, whichever student had the black snake at the end of the song got to choose a rhythm and attempt to earn points for his or her team. Rhythms were worth either one or two points depending on the difficulty of the rhythm. Students also learned a new song, Chatter with the Angels. This song will be used to help students become more adept at identifying sixteenth notes. Students finished the week with a recorder day. Students learned the first section of an 80's rock style song called Slow and Steady Wins the Race. In this song students reviewed recorder notes E, G, and A. After learning the first section of the song together as a class, students were challenged to sight read the second section of the song. Lastly, students were given the opportunity go complete the next test in recorder karate.

Fifth grade students were introduced to complex form this week. A piece with complex form has small sections of form within bigger sections. For example, a piece may have an overall form of ABA; however, with in the A section there may be another aba pattern. Students studied a piece entitled March Past of the Kitchen Utensils and added dynamics to its listening map. Students noticed that the dynamics were tied to the melody; the dynamics stayed the same each time the same melody was presented. Students discovered that assigning dynamics is a somewhat subjective task. For example, after listening to a piece one student might have chosen piano (quiet) as a dynamic marking while another student might have chosen mezzo piano (medium quiet). After completing this assignment, students were introduced to a listening map for Camille Saint-Saens' composition Aquarium. This brilliant listening map was used to introduce students to a new evaluation component: pitch. After listening to the piece of music and studying the listening map, students were able to make observations about it that Mrs. Aaronson had completely overlooked. Wonderful job, fifth grade!

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