Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Three Minute Recorder #3 - "E"

This week in recorder, third graders are being introduced to a new note -- "E."  As the kids were already noticing in class, adding the E to the mix.  This video should prove a useful review.

Big Recorder Classes This Year!

Due to the large number of third graders this year, we have a few especially large recorder classes.  The potential for chaos is high, but what a big sound they make!  Remember folks, it's left hand on top!

"Molly Malone" for fourth grade

"Molly Malone" is one of the first lessons I ever wrote.  The Irish Chanty is doubly important to me, as it is one of several that my father used to sing to me as a boy.  In this lesson fourth graders pass a several boxes around the circle on the beat to mimic the loading and offloading of cargo.  Whoever is holding a box when the line "cockles and muscles alive, alive o!" comes around has to hold the box over the head and improvise their own market place cry.  "Molly Malone" is also one of several songs I used as a framing device for new lyrics that the kids devise themselves.

Movement in Primary Grades a Must

Movement is a fundamental part of music instruction at Wonderland School.  Whether it be a series of student-composed hand gestures. as in the "Color Song" for Kinder, or learning a full on folk dance such as "Down the Ohio," movement helps children focus and connects them to the rhythm of the songs we sing.  It is also a great way for high energy kids to blow off a little steam.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Mary Had a Little Lamb in Left Hand Tabs

This week third graders got this piece of music which we will be working with in class next week.  I am reposting it here for anybody who may have been out.  Notice that the song is written in tablature -- a kind of music written that tells you what to do -- in this case what holes to cover -- as well as what notes to play.   Note that we only are using notes we make with our left hand.

My question for you next week will be -- what part of the music does this kind of notation leave out? (Hint -- think of Diggy Diggy Dong).

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Three Minute Recorder - Lessons 1 and 2

From time to time I will be posting video lessons here under the title "Three Minute Recorder."  These first two have to do with basics of how to handle the recorder and how to play the first three notes - B, A and G.

The goal here is to give the kids a little at home guidance with video that reteaches and reinforces what we are learning is class.  At the very least, using these videos will encourage them to practice more.

Recorders go home this week

This week, as we have done for the last several years, we are giving a new Yamaha recorder to all third grade students.  We'll also be teaching them how to use their recorders for the next ten weeks or so.  During these first day so recorder ownership, the playground tooting can be a little hard to bear, but colleagues I promise, the novelty does wear off.  In the meantime it's a major incentive for me to get them to sound good fast.

John Kenakanaka

This week the second graders learned the sea chanty, John Kenakanaka.  In the process they focused on how songs link this, with a strong rhythmic idea, lots of repetition and an endless number of verses are perfect for making work go faster.  In my classroom we try to give kids an authentic experience wherever possible, so the kids spent the afternoon singing and moving... singing and moving...

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Jamming on G!

How much fun can you have with one chord and ten minutes of instruction?  About this much...

Coyote String Band Meets!

On Friday afternoon we held our first meeting of Coyote String Band, our new Folk/Bluegrass ensemble.  We were expecting about ten kids and ended up with 23.  But what this fun this going to be!

A Short Week

This week was a short one with Labor Day and Rosh Hashannah giving us Monday and Thursday off. This meant that in the classes I did see there was an opportunity to go more into depth on some of the things we've talking about.  In Third Grade, for example, where students will be getting recorders next week, I was able to introduce the concept of pitch to their developing understanding of notation.

After reviewing the durational values of quarter, eighth and sixteenth notes, the kids were allows to add pitch names to rhythm patterns they developed.  The result was several pretty three note melodies.