This month in the music room the kindergartners are studying a unit on dynamics. Dynamics refer to volume and indicate how loud or soft a piece of music should be. The students have been introduced to the musical vocabulary associated with different dynamic levels, and they are learning to decipher between fortissimo (very loud), forte (loud), piano (soft), and pianissimo (very soft). To solidify this concept the students are participating in movement activities, listening to stories, singing songs, and playing instruments at different dynamic levels. In addition, they have been asked to identify and describe pieces of music using this musical vocabulary.
This month in first grade music classes we are preparing for the Rowe Show and studying a unit on energy and calm in music. The students are listening to pieces of music and identifying which parts are energetic and which parts are calm. In doing so they are being asked to describe music using vocabulary they have learned so far at Rowe school. Students have described calm music as legato (smooth), piano (soft), largo (slow), and thin in texture. Energetic music has been described by students as staccato (choppy), forte (loud), presto (fast), and thick in texture.
Along with our Rowe Show preparation and study of energy and calm the first graders are working on rhythm reading. This early introduction to reading music has the students reciting 4-beat rhythmic patterns composed of quarter notes, eighth notes, and quarter rests.