- Vocal timbral exploration
- Identification of Verse-Refrain form
- Creative vocal characterization
- Minor-mode singing
- Singing in the jazz idiom (including scat)
- Attention to ensemble performance
It's easy to get sucked up into the fun and fright of Halloween, especially when it affords us so many opportunities to use our voices in fun and interesting ways! One particular song, "Sing a Song for Halloween" continues to be a favorite at Chelsea Prep (and has already been requested by a few students this year), and I am happy to oblige because of the many fantastic ways in which it utilizes our voice. Not only is it a jazzy piece with a fast tempo, but it also lets us explore how to use our voices as witches, goblins, ghosts, wolves, owls, mummies, zombies, snakes, and whatever other crazy creatures the students choose. With each iteration of the song, the students get to explore a particular voice through simultaneous vocal improvisation before regrouping for the refrain. Thus, in a single song, we can develop the following skills:
Having introduced and, for many students, established a steady beat in our bodies and our brains, we can move toward other kinds of music making. Last week, 2nd Graders finalized their echo song/chant compositions and prepared to perform them for their class. Kindergarteners demonstrated musical and interpersonal independence by playing "Engine Engine Number 9" without my assistance, and 1st Graders identified numerous things in our lives that keep their own steady beat, such as clocks, the rotation of the Earth, and our hearts. In each of these activities, maintaining a steady beat with the group is crucial to success, and in this case, success is generally measured by enjoyment and engagement.
This week 3rd Graders will start their music classes for the year with an exploration of pitch in both the songs we sing in school and the music they hear outside of school. Meanwhile, composition and creativity will dominate the other grades. Second graders will perform their compositions, 1st Graders will explore tempo through modifying familiar tunes, and Kindergartners will blend music with science as they build a tree for the song "The Green Grass Grows All Around." Even the PreK students will get to improvise with vocal production of nonsense syllables for their friends to echo.
In addition to these creative goals, we are also introducing the music for the Winter show which we will continue to work on and rehearse in the coming weeks. Before we know it, winter will be upon us and we'll be up on that stage performing for all of you!
Now that the students are back in the swing of things at school, Third Street Music at Chelsea Prep has returned as well! Music classes began October 1st with some of the basic elements that all first-classes have: introductions, rules and expectations, name games, and the like. Little do our students realize, however, that even while they are learning about the expectations of participating in music class or teaching me their names, we are also actively creating music together.
For the first couple weeks, the focus will be on steady beat. This is a primary foundation found in nearly all music, just as it is found in our own bodies with our heart. Through chants, echo songs, games, drumming, and more, students will explore how a steady beat keeps music going in such a way that everyone can join in together.