In our society's current musical culture, one of the most poignant ways to make music is to write lyrics. Whether it be coming up with new words to popular melodies, making up you're own rhymes, rapping or MCing, or anything else, songwriting has a long tradition in American music. This week, students will be exploring some songs with important lyrics, then finding ways to make those songs more personally relevant by changing the words or writing entirely new songs. Third graders in particular will start writing their own couplets to make into songs week by week.
We will be using this last week before our Mid-Winter Recess to wrap up projects, play some games, and include instruments into our lessons. Kindergarten will learn the song "A Tisket A Tasket" and the game that goes with it, then after playing the game with instrumental accompaniment, they'll get a chance to hear Ella Fitzgerald's take on the favorite children's song. First graders will also be playing a game, "Hop Old Squirrel." This is a great refresher (or introduction) to beat vs. rhythm, and after exploring the difference between the two they'll get to play the parts of trees and squirrels, hopping around the room (or skipping, or jumping, or crawling, or whatever movement they choose). In second grade, students will apply what they've been learning to the game song "Bluebird, Bluebird through my Window," changing the song and their movements according to the birds they know, and maybe some they don't!
Unfortunately, third graders will not have music this week due to the Lunar New Year, but I'm looking forward to some fantastic musicking and critical exploration with them following our Mid-Winter Recess!
A month! It's been a month since I last updated, for which I apologize. But we've been having so much fun, and I've been working so hard to ensure precisely that, that the lesson blog suffered. So, let me give you a quick recap:
In PreK, we've been having tons of fun with instruments, exploring the sounds they make, including them in our songs, and making songs about them. Throughout these weeks, the students have been developing and practicing their sharing skills, listening skills (knowing when to start and stop with the music), and higher-level musicianship of playing your instrument at a particular time while your neighbor waits to play during their part of the song. Students are loving the song "Mi Cuerpo," along with "I Play My Instruments." This week, we are going to read a poem and find a way to add instruments to illustrate it.
Kindergartners have also been exploring instruments and the sounds they make, then learned about conducting -- showing an ensemble how to start, stop, get louder, and get softer, all without using the voice! Then we turned our attention to other instruments: the guitar, violin, drums, and piano. We played a rousing game of Instrument Bingo where students demonstrated their ability to identify those instruments by sight, sound, and the motions of how they're played. They can even identify the difference between strumming a guitar and fingerpicking! Then last week we played "Instruments as Animals," where students had to identify which animal was being depicted in wordless music. The game was a success, and students even had the opportunity to listen to a song and draw the animal they heard, without any prompts. The resulting drawings were varied but impressive. This week, we will sing "Mi Cuerpo" and add instruments to it, then come up with new ways to sing the song with different instruments.
In First Grade students have been learning about representatives of the instrument families of the orchestra, namely the violin, flute, and trumpet. After an impressive game of Instrument Bingo, students embarked on a group project to research those instruments and create an informational poster about each one. We will finish up our posters this week and I can't wait to see the finished products!
Second Graders also spent time learning about orchestra instruments, but they focused on the string family. I brought in my violin and cello for the students to see, touch, hear, and play, and they saw the "Rule of Sound" in action. We then applied what we had already learned to the viola and the bass, and had a great time watching music videos with those instruments so they could see how big the bass is, hear how smooth the viola sounds, and generally listen to some of their favorite songs played in an unfamiliar way. Last week, we watched a video of a cello being played with an orange and a video of a man playing vegetable instruments, which inspired our most recent endeavor: inventing our own instruments! Students will continue to work this week on drawing a new instrument of their design, then writing about its form, use, and sound.
In Third Grade, we've been learning the cup game to go along with Anna Kendrick's "When I'm Gone." Third Graders missed a day of music on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and they all took a survey last week, so this week we will finally be finishing up the song (although the students might not be so pleased about that!). Additionally this week, for the students who have mastered the cup song, they will be challenged to compose a new ostinato rhythm to accompany the song.
Below are the lesson plans for the last few weeks. Happy musicking!