We've been practicing writing rhythms this week in grades 3-5. Students had a choice between using beat sheets and rhythm kits or using dry erase boards. Students wrote rhythms they heard and had a chance to compose their own!
For the past few weeks, students in second through fifth grade have been learning about a special type of musical texture called harmony. There are many ways to create harmony, such as melodic ostinatos, rounds, partner songs, and chords. This week, students in fourth and fifth grade learned how combining two different songs at the same time can create harmony in the form of partner songs. The students sang two familiar songs, "Hot Cross Buns" and "Bow Wow Wow," together at the same time. Then, after labeling the pitches with letter names, the students had a choice of which song to play on the xylophones, metallophones, and glockenspiels. Listen as Tuesday's fourth grade class, B2, plays these two songs together.
It has been a chilly start to the new year! Of course, cold weather can sometimes mean a chance of snow. Even though it doesn't snow much here in Georgia, we sure do get excited when it does. One of the best things to do when it snows, of course, is to build a snowman! When kindergarten and first grade returned to Music class last week and this week, we read one of my favorite books to read when it gets cold: Snowmen at Night, written by Caralyn Buehner and illustrated by Mark Buehner. After reading through the first time, we noticed there were a lot of words in the book that described the sounds snowmen make. So, we used many different instruments in the Music room to make those sounds come alive! The students were very creative when choosing instruments to match the sound words, including a few unusual instruments we don't get to play very often. We used hand drums, vibraslaps, cabasas, chimes, xylophones, rhythm sticks, sand blocks, scrapers, and even our voices! The students enjoyed choosing the instruments and adding their sounds to the story.
Listen to Ms. Bird's first grade class as they use different instruments to create sound effects for Snowmen at Night.
Have you ever read a book with a singing voice? That's exactly what students in kindergarten and 1st grade did this week in Music! First, we discussed our 4 different voices: whisper, speak, shout, and SING! Then, we practiced using our singing voices, both alone and with the whole group. Next, we actually sang through the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, written by Bill Martin Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle. The students sang each of the questions, and then I sang each of the answers. Our lesson on singing voices ended with a game in which the students got to reenact the book: each student was given a finger puppet of a different animal: brown bear, red bird, grey mouse, blue shark, etc. The group asked each "animal" what it saw, and that student got to tell the class what they saw by singing about the animal next to them. The kindergarteners and 1st graders loved using puppets to help practice using their singing voices!
This week, 3rd graders got to learn about sixteenth notes, which we call "takadimi". We talked about how different names have different rhythms. Each student got to say his/her own name in 2 beats, and we found out that not every name has the same rhythm. Then we talked about the name "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt", which takes four beats. His name also includes a takadimi. Do you know where it is? Finally, we got to read about (and add instruments to) a very interesting, 16-beat name: Tikki tikki tembo no sa rembo chari bari ruchi pip peri pembo. WOW! Do you know how to find the rhythm of his name? How many takadimis are hidden in his name? I look forward to teaching this lesson every year. Learn more about Tikki Tikki Tembo, a Chinese folktale retold by Arlene Mosel and illustrated by Blair Lent
Summer has come to a close, and students are back in Music class this week! I have seen many familiar faces and got to meet some new faces, too! I am excited about sharing a marvellously musical year with my students. I always like to kick the year off with a challenge. 4th and 5th graders were certainly challenged this week when they were learning how to play a hand clapping game called "Bim Bum". I have added a YouTube tutorial for this game below. How fast can you go??
As the school year draws to a close, it is time for some lessons we might not normally have time for during the usual hub-bub of the semester. This week, students in Ms. Flinn's classes got to do something really fun - parachute! Students in all grades got to experience the form of the famous Gioachino Rossini piece, "William Tell Overture", using different moves on the parachute, including: gallop, ripples and waves, mushroom, washing machine, and wind machine. Thanks to Artie Almeida and her book Parachutes and Ribbons and Scarves, Oh My! for the wonderful idea!