Over the weekend I had the great experience of attending a music teaching workshop at Western Washington University which focused on using classroom instruments such as xylophones, ukuleles, drums and recorders – All of which we are lucky to have in our own music classroom! So this week I have been utilizing some of the fun activities that I got to experience with my colleagues over the weekend, and the students are having a blast with them as well. Students thrive in the music room when they are actively making and creating music, and it’s especially evident to see by the smiles and learning that I have witnessed this week.
Kindergarten: This week, students are experiencing playing a steady beat in different forms of body percussion with the poems Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater, Autumn and the song October is Here. They are also reading the book The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything and adding musical instruments to go with the words of the story.
1st Grade: This week, students are learning that rhythm can come from words in the song Today is Monday (this song is also helping them solidify their knowledge of the days of the week) and they will play the rhythm of the words on instruments. They are also reading the book The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything and adding in creative body percussion motions to go with the words of the story.
2nd Grade: This week, this week students are practicing rhythms containing quarter, eighth and half notes with the song What’s That Creature? They are also defining accent and bar lines with the song Icka Backa, and creating sound effects using the classroom instruments in the song Birds and Bats.
3rd Grade: This week, students are spending time playing question and answer patterns on the class set of drums. Students are also exploring First Nations music this week. They are listening, singing and responding to a song from Native American culture called Indian Summer and comparing it to the song Ceremonial Dance.
4th Grade: This week students are reinforcing musical syncopation with the fun and upbeat song called Syncopation. They are also learning about the 3/4 time signature with a Maori stick game called Ma Ku Ay where they will be moving and conducting beats in groups of 3.
Orchestra (5th & 6th Grade): This week in orchestra, students are learning all of the note names on their instrument. They are also working on left hand placement, finger strengthening exercises, learning the melody part of Mississippi Reel, and playing simple known tunes by rote. They will begin some note reading, and finding their open string notes on a musical staff. Practice at home is essential at this point, muscle memory is being formed and students should practice left hand finger placement on their strings until it feels easy!