April 26, 2015: Music

Boom Boom Weeo Weeo - Ti Ti Ti - Ti Ti Ti

We are developing into independent musicians in 2nd Grade.  It's getting more challenging!  And it's feeling just a little bit like a beginning 3rd Grade class.  Listen to them first singing this great song (is that the NPR theme?) as one group - and then we broke into three groups to sing and play each part as a canon or a round.  It's really hard not to get confused - but they did it!  Yes, it's happening, and it sounds great.  

We can make music out of anything - any idea, any combination of words can become rhythmic music.  What did you do over Spring Break?  "I went to New Jersey."   ...   Okay, maybe not at first, but when you repeat it four times, and add rests here and there, it quickly becomes the best music we've played together so far.  Put those four phrases to a melodic scale, and we suddenly have the catchiest song ever written about going to New Jersey.    All these lessons are reinforcing that the children practice  "Playing the Way the Words Go," a standard Kodaly approach for teaching accurate rhythmic playing.  Once we take the words out and "Think the Words," it becomes instrumental magic.

"It feels different, like it's Halloween!"
We explored different pentatonic Modes with these little Spring Break songs.  If you have ever heard of "Major" or "minor," these modes are related.  Each mode seems to have its own emotional character.  We are just calling them by their "Home Tone." 

 Many agree that "Home tone C" has a bright, happy sound (Major).
"Home tone D" gets real creepy real fast.  Yikes.
"Home tone E" is even scarier! - "It's like I'm in a Shark Tank!"
"Home tone G" - phew!  Back to a brighter feeling -   "I feel like we're in a magical snowstorm"
"Home tone A" - this one has what we might call a minor key feel.  Some kids felt like this one makes the story more important, or more urgent.

Matching the feeling of the "One" characters

Bright, Awesome, Cool, and Funny - they chose the "bright" Home Tone C.    

You may remember that we started a long composition project for the book "One" by Kathryn Otoshi. 

Student partners have been working consistently to compose for their assigned character from the book.  Once they have 4 adjectives written, they "Clap and Say" each word within 2 beats.  Then they experiment with shifting one or two words over to beat 2 instead of beat 1. Then they get to write the rhythm of their own new composition.

Then they chose a "Home tone" feeling that seems to match the mood of their character to start and end on. 

Finally we're adding a little more interesting rhythm on the repeat by bringing back those icon rhythms from before the break.  The results are becoming really fantastic!  I can't wait to put them all together when they're finished and tell the story.

Peter Musselman
Music Specialist, Grades 2-5