Monday, March 13, 2017

Sixteenth Notes

I am part of a Facebook Group called "Music Ed Blogs".  We are a group of dedicated music teachers who blog regularly and love to share ideas and learn! 

As part of Music in Our Schools month, we are taking turns posting each day on one aspect of rhythm.  Today is my turn and I am so excited.
I teach Junior Kindergarten through Fourth Grade at an independent (private) school. Therefore, my upper grades are third and fourth. I am going to share some ways to teach sixteenth notes today!


So many ideas! 

The Orange or the Pizza?

Say what?  Yes, as sixteenth notes (and eighths, and triplets, etc.) are divisions of ONE, and subdivisions of the measure, which has already been divided into duple or triple meter.  With me so far?  Good.  Bring in an orange and a knife, or a pizza.. trust me, orange is easier and smells better; you want kids walking in saying "what a nice smell" instead of "ewww.. smells like stale pizza".
 Why an orange?  It is a beautiful sphere, almost a perfect circle, unlike apples or potatoes which can be weirdly shaped.  You want something round to represent a beat.  Once your class has learned a song with sixteenth notes and experienced it (in the Orff Approach, experience first, label later), seat your class and dramatically bring out your orange.  I slice mine on a music stand with paper towels underneath it.. very fancy.  I do this without talking- it's hysterical. Whip out the orange, dramatically approach it with the knife (as in ceremonial sacrifice) and plunge the knife in.. the kids love the drama. Then cut the orange in half.  Show each half, then put the orange back together and put pointer finger in the air to show "one".  Break it apart and find a visual in your room that shows eighth notes, run over and dramatically point to each note and then to each 1/2 of orange.  AHA! Eureka!  Connections are being made. Cut each half of orange in half again and voila! Sixteenth notes. Hopefully you have a visual somewhere in your classroom or have written/displayed it on whiteboard. Look around the room and shrug your shoulders. Show each quarter of orange and look around again.. they'll get it and someone will make the connection and woop, woop, what is that note called? 
This is where you quietly ask  if anyone knows the name of that note?  This is where I have the students turn and talk about what they just saw me do. Often their "kidspeak" during turn and talk is much better than my instructions and chatter. 
Following this, we will read the rhythms of a song experienced in class and quickly discover the notes we were singing in (example) "Chicken on a Fencepost" had three sets of sixteenth notes!  Then we sing more songs and experience playing and moving with sixteenth notes and then we are ready to create.  This sequence should not happen all in one lesson; it takes time.
One of my FAVORITE games to play with this is from another blogger, take a look at Tika Tika Tic Tac Toe!
And just in time for St. Patty's Day this Friday, remember, too, a four leaf clover is ONE weed/clover with FOUR leaves!


For more ideas, here is another post I recently wrote on sixteenth notes.
Happy Spring (Almost... almost... almost.. can't wait!)!

If you are looking for a (wonderful) list of songs with sixteenth notes, with links to free music, Beth's Notes has it all! Click Here!!


Thursday, March 9, 2017

St. Patrick's Day Song and Sneak Peak of New Book!

I LOVE singing games!  You can probably tell this if you have been on my blog for any length of time!  Children also love them (of course) and they encourage even your most reluctant singers to join in; perhaps it is the focus on the game and the lessening of focus and attention on "singing" as a skill.  They are wonderful, of course, whether you identify yourself as a Kodaly, Orff, Laban, or general music teacher as you can find songs that are within the Kodaly sequence, songs to teach specific concepts and skills, or to encourage solo singing or build sense of community.  Invaluable!
I am currently finishing a book of Singing Games from Around the World and was fortunate enough for one of my lovely Orff friends, Marilyn, to share an Irish one.  The story:  Marilyn was seated on a flight next to a wee Irish lassie and when she found out Marilyn was a music teacher, song after song poured out of her and she helped Marilyn to transcribe the notation and Gaelic!  How incredibly lucky!

1. Lamha Suas

Today I will share the English version Marilyn wrote, you will surely recognize the tune!  The Irish/Gaelic and this version will be in the new book! :)

2.  St. Patrick Was a Gentleman

Lyrics and sheet music can be found here.
I use this song as a dance:
Introduction - Bend knees or rest
Swing all eighth notes.
A -
Circle right 8 beats, circle left 8 beats:  FW 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 turn, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 center.
In, in, clap clap clap (ta ta titi ta), out, out clap clap clap (ta ta titi ta), repeat
Rest for 4 beats and get ready - hands at sides
B -
Right heel on floor, right toe on floor (say heel, toe) clap clap clap (ta ta titi ta)
Left heel on floor, left toe on floor (say heel, toe) clap clap clap (ta ta titi ta), repeat, rest until next A Section.
Form:  AB

3.  Getting Me Eire On!

I posted about this last year and have several other activities including my favorite Irish song, "Rattlin' Bog".

Click here for my previous post on Irish music and songs!