Monday, January 8, 2018

January

Kindergarten

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.

First Grade

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.


Sunday, December 17, 2017

December in the Music Room

December

Kindergarten

During the month of December, the kindergarten classes learned about musical theatre and we discussed key elements such as props, scenery, costumes, lighting, and makeup.   In addition, the students learned a number of holiday songs that they will sing during our school-wide sing-a-long at the December community meeting.

First Grade


During the month of December, the first grade classes studied ballet in the music room.  They learned about traditional and non-traditional ballet, and compared and contrasted the two.  They listened to the story of Stravinsky and Nijinsky, and watched several short clips from The Rite of Spring. We discussed how Stravinsky and Nijinsky created extremes in their music and dancing that contrasted greatly from the traditional ballet that audiences were used to.  We then explored a traditional ballet through a study of the Nutcracker, and we compared it to our previous study of non-traditional ballet.  In addition, the students learned a number of holiday songs that they will sing during our school-wide sing-a-long at the December community meeting.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

November in the Music Room

November

This month in the music room, kindergarten classes began a unit study about tempo.  The children learned that 'tempo tells us just how fast to go' in music, and we focused specifically on presto and largo.  Presto is our fancy music word for fast and largo is our fancy word for slow.  While studying this unit, the children explored this concept by participating in a variety of activities including singing, listening, moving, and playing instruments at various tempos.

This month in the music room, first grade classes began a unit study about unity and variety in music.  We began by talking about the ways in which composers create unity in their music.  The children learned that composers often create unity by repeating lyrics, melodies/harmonies, or even whole sections of music.  We discussed the idea that our brains are automatically programmed to 'grab on to' the familiar, therefore making music with repetition rather appealing to the ear.  Next, we talked about the many ways in which composers create variety in their music including presto/largo (fast/slow tempos), forte/piano (loud/soft volume), legato/staccato (smooth/choppy notes), different timbres (instrument sound qualities), and high/low pitches.  To tie this all together, the first graders have been working for several weeks on small group musical composition projects.