Friday, April 29, 2022

The Listening Walk

Sounds. Noises. Music. Squeals, splashes, tweets, whistles, zonks, and barks. 

This is a fun video to get children thinking about sounds. 

Clangery bash, splish a ma splash.

Whomp, rumble, wah wah squeak.

So many sounds to make, to hear.

Listen, listen, use your ears. 

I love starting with this book and every couple of pages insert the speech above.

Then we review the ways we use our voices and bodies while we play Boom Chicka Boom. We speak this with various voices; cow sounds, baby style, low and high voices, whisper voices, etc. We also explore new ways to keep the body percussion ostinato.

Next we read The Listening Walk by Paul Showers and Aliki.

Once we have read the book, we go on a silent listening walk outside. You could also choose to take your walk through your building. Students work in pairs with one pencil, a clipboard, and one recording sheet below.

Students then discuss their favorite 5-7 sounds and how to recreate them with voices or bodies.

Next we talk about how to show the sounds visually. I love this post from Classicfm on how art and music collide in graphic notation. Here is one of the graphic scores shown, isn't it gorgeous and a great example of linear non-traditional notation?!

Here's another fun one for singers:

Students will choose an order for their sounds - what comes first, second, etc.? Are they all quiet sounds or is there a mix of quiet and loud? Is there a mix of high and low sounds?

On a blank piece of paper in landscape orientation, students draw a “road” and write their favorite 5-7 sound names or representation. Add dynamics of p or f for quiet or loud for each sound. Perform.

Then we discuss how composers interpret sounds with instruments. Here is a student sample:

Next students circle up to three sounds to try to interpret on instruments. The other instrument sounds continue to be performed with voices or bodies. Students choose the kinds of instrument timbres that best represent the sound. This part can get NOISY, but allow for the noise and for the exploration as students make choices and decisions. There is no right or wrong answer.

Now we are ready for the song to create a Grand Rondo! 


Perform in rondo form with song as A Section, student creations will be contrasting sections.

Then we listen to excerpts from Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony (No. 6). Beethoven deeply loved nature and often traveled to the countryside outside of the busy city. 

As Beethoven's favorite place was being in nature, while listening students draw pictures of their favorite places and add a few sentences about this favorite place. 

This takes 2-3 classes (depending on length of class) and is a fun activity my students have enjoyed for several years!  
Crystal sent me an update to her song and the way she uses the book - here is a Forte/Piano Garden Scavenger Hunt using f and p cards made from paint chips! 

Hope you enjoy! 

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Spring is Here

 I love spring!  All the flowers, the new leaves budding, and green; so much green!!! 

I have been playing with some older lessons I created years ago and have had so much fun using Spring is Here by Will Hillenbrand with my students. This is a Bear and Mole story and is so cute - kids love the ending! 

It is a nice introduction into half note, too!  Check out the lesson below. Click on this link which will take you to the full Google slide complete with a 6-minute video lesson that will talk you through how to teach the lesson as well as give you the 2-beat building bricks.  Like everything else you see and want more lessons like this?  Come and join our Patreon community for exclusive content, monthly mini workshops and mentorship opportunities. All for about the cost of a cup of coffee per month! 


Saturday, April 2, 2022

Books and Music for Ramadan

Ramadan is a holiday celebrated by Muslims around the world. It begins at sundown April 2 and ends May 1 this year. Through fasting, Muslims believe  their relationship with God will be strengthened, as it makes up one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
This 3-minute video shows children sharing information about Ramadan:

This book is the story of Najma, a girl who rises each morning of Ramadan to the drum beat of her neighborhood's musaharati. He wakes each family for the pre-dawn meal before the day of fasting. Najma wants be a musaharati herself one day, but the job has never been one for girls.  This is a lovely story of resilience, determination, and courage.

This is a great read aloud of the book:

Lisa Zargarpur wrote a beautiful article for the American Center for Elemental Music and Movement (ACEMM) with a song for Ramadan.  Check it out here! 

Hena Khan is one of my favorite authors!  
I fell in love with Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets a few years ago and wrote an activity I put in my Painted Music book.  

Here is a link to the pdf with the above images and the 2-beat building bricks.

Hena Khan has several other books I love! 

Ramadan Mubarak