Sunday, January 3, 2016

In A Music Galaxy Far Far Away...

Ok, first I have to say the title of this post is credited to Aileen Miracle from Mrs. Miracle's Music Room.  I couldn't resist, although she used the word, "land" instead of "galaxy". 
I was already planning a post on Star Wars music when I saw her post; my family and I have been watching the whole series from the beginning Episode (yup, started with Episode ONE) in order for our daughter, 8, to "get it".  We have been watching for the past couple of weeks and finished with my favorite episode, the one with the Ewoks.. man, I love those cuties!! Some of the videos she didn't want to watch all of, which is fine, but she has been asking about Star Wars as several of her 2nd grade classmates were talking about it before the break. 
I am a HUGE John Williams fan; he's brilliant and his musicality is astounding. Such powerful, memorable, and fitting melodies! 

So, on to the activities:
  1. Imperial March with Steady Beat Swords
I first found these on Tracy Kings site a long time ago and made them although mine aren't as fancy and lack the true "light saber" silver and black ends; just cut pool noodles in half.  They also work great to use as taiko drumsticks when teaching Taiko drums; one partner holds a hand drum with both hands straight out in front of them (arms extended), while other partner practices Taiko drumming with the steady beat "swords".
As I'm introducing the music, I ask the students about stories they might remember and play an excerpt of "We're Off to the See the Wizard", "Linus and Lucy", "William Tell Overture", and "Peter's Theme" from "Peter and the Wolf" among others.  I will ask some questions about how they knew the music was connected to that story and what instruments, rhythms, tempo, etc. represent each character of the music.  I will play a few seconds (all it takes!) of Imperial March and you can FEEL the excitement.. YES! 

 Main theme:  Keep steady beat with a partner
 Secondary theme:  Jedi Knights sneaking and creeping (looking out for Storm Troopers).
 Main theme:   Find same partner, steady beat again.  
With older students, instead of a simple beat pattern, give students in small groups of 3-4 time to create a 4 or 8-beat pattern; always fun and interesting to see who works well together and what they come up with!!! 
2.  Jimmy Fallon Star Wars Theme a capella
Wow, have you seen this?  So many things you could talk about with this, especially the power of a capella singing!
3.  Parachute Form Lesson
This is from the always awesome Cherie Herring, and is a great way to get those energy bugs out, especially after the long winter break!  We all know how trying that first week back to school can be after all the sugar, late nights, travel, and off-schedule days, and we're just talking about us grownups here, never mind the KIDS!  :)

Well, that's a few things to get you back in the swing of things, have fun and may the force be with you !

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