11/14/2014: Music

If You Ain't Got Do-Re-Mi

I have recently returned from the American Orff Schulwerk Association national conference held in Music City, Nashville Tennessee.  Three full days of sessions with internationally recognized teachers (not to mention the evening line dancing and contra dancing) have inspired me with a thousand new ideas and approaches to teaching creative movement and music here at TIS.  Thank you one and all for your continued support of the music and art programs through Run for the Arts.  

English nursery rhymes provide a rhythmic foundation upon which we study meter, rhythm, melody, composition, improvisation, and reading and writing notation in second grade.  Some are going to be familiar to the children, and others are more obscure.  One example that we began this week is  "Charlie Wag."  (ate the pudding and left the bag)  In this pentatonic melody set by Doug Goodkin, the children will experience rondo form, in which the B section after the main song is a four-beat improvisation by the kids!  "What kind of pudding did he eat??"  -  a child answers with their idea of a type of pudding - "Chocolate!" And the class chants and claps it in a rhythmic pattern, "chocolate, chocolate chocolate, Yum!"  Next week, rhythm flash cards will be added to their improvisations, read and played by the group using body percussion with some unpitched percussion with various timbres (woods, metals, skins).  The flashcards will multiply for each student to choose a rhythm to read and play.  When played all together the rhythms will begin to layer and complement each other for a rich musical experience.  

Running in the background of this song, and another game song, "Tideo," is a common melodic snippet which we are calling "Three steps down," which is preparation for naming the Do, Re, Mi pitches in the pentatonic scale.  We will always sing and play with musical elements before identifying them by name and symbol.

Peter Musselman
Music Specialist, Grades 2-5
email: peterm@intlschool.org
Music Classroom blog: http://musenewstis.blogspot.com