Since February break the kindergarteners have been studying 2 units in their music classes- song form and melodic direction.
Song Form- This was introduced to the children as an exploration of 'Same & Different' in music. We discussed the fact that songs have sections of music that are the same (and repeat) as well as sections of music that are different. The students have used shape patterns for each song example as a means of decoding what a it might sound like before they hear it, allowing them to determine ahead of time which sections of a song will repeat and which sections will not. They have impressed me with their newfound ability to label sections of music with letter names such as 'A section', 'B section', etc, just like professional musicians do.
Melodic Direction- For the past few weeks the kindergarteners have been exploring the concept of melodic direction. By the end of this unit the children will have an understanding of high notes versus low notes, and will be able to identify whether a melody is moving from low to high, or high to low. In doing so, the students are engaging in lessons that include listening examples, moving to music, playing instruments, and singing songs.
The first graders have been working hard on their music for the Rowe Show performance on Wednesday April 11 titled “Everyday is Earth Day”. Now that the children have learned all of the music, they are working on memorization, performance expectations, and adding hand movements. It is exciting to see them put forth so much effort to make this show a success, and we can't wait for the big night!
Extra Music Classes
Each first grade class participates in an extra music class for half of the school year, so instead of one music class each week they have two music classes each week for half of the school year. During this extra music class I have made it a priority to focus on introducing the students to music from other countries around the world. In each class the students are asked to listen to a song from somewhere else in the world, and then decide where they think the music is from and why. After they have offered their guesses I reveal the name of the country, show them where it is on the world map, and then teach them about the different instruments used in each song example. The children love this portion of music class and are always so eager to learn about music from far away lands.
In addition to these multicultural listening lessons, the students are also studying Camille Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals during their extra music classes, and are continuing to work on instrumental and vocal techniques, cooperative movement activities, and composition.