October 10, 2014: Music

I have enjoyed meeting and making music with all the amazing Second Grade musicians.  We have been practicing the ensemble skills it takes for everyone to make the same music at the same time - knowing when to start together and also exactly when to stop.  How to have fun as a group and laugh about our bubble voices, and then stop.

One musical element that we are reviewing from 1st grade is how to keep an absolutely rock steady beat.  We do this through locomotor movement games that involve stepping in a circle.  We play singing games like "Goin' Round the Mountain," and "Little Sally Water."  Follow this link for a BBC article that describes how stepping to a steady beat is closely linked to language skills.  Also, it's just fun - it feels great when a drum is beating every time you step, because it feels like your feet are drumming the room.

As we progress through the year, we will be ear training and writing music notation from parts of songs we sing.  We always begin the cycle by singing a song through a movement game or beat passing activity a number of times over multiple classes until the melody is internalized.  At that point, the target element (new melodic note - new rhythmic figure, etc.) becomes the focus of an ear training activity.  Students working individually are asked to write the melodic or rhythmic notation for a short part of the song they know so well.  The questions every step of the way are designed for every student to be able to break down their listening into two choices. "Do you hear one or two sounds on this beat?"  "Does the melody go up or down?  Before long, the students will be effortlessly writing the notation for parts of songs they already know.  Later in the year they will be notating their own compositions using these skills.

Student sample notation using the new rhythmic figure presented in 2nd grade

Music Informances!
Come participate in a music class!  These will not be performances - you will be expected to sing, dance, learn, and play along with your child!  Because the activities we do in class ask a great deal of personal risk-taking by the children, I ask that you do not record video of the experience.  Step in, join hands, and you will take a better memory with you.  Please come dressed prepared to sit on the floor as well as move around a bit.   If you can't make this one, don't worry, I will also open an Informance class in the Spring. 

RSVP: peterm@intlschool.org

Maria L 11:30-12:30 Tuesday Oct21
Aiyun 11:30-12:30  Wednesday Oct22
Zoe 11:30-12:30 Thursday Oct 23
Masami 11:30-12:30 Friday Oct 24
Ariana 11:30-12:30 Monday Oct27

Second Graders "turning to the west" during a game of "Little Sally Water."

( A word about my communications - In the parent survey, some parents have given feedback about my updates.  I tend to include pedagogical reasons for the activities for you, the parents, to have context.  Some parents have wished for information geared more toward the lay person.  I'm trying!  But I still want you to know WHY we're doing what we're doing! )

Please visit my classroom blog periodically for updates and audio samples of classroom activities!

Peter Musselman
Music Specialist, Grades 2-5