Let's Sing 3 Column

Monday, May 10, 2021

Week 9 in Music

 Here is a synopsis of what happened in music - instructional Week 98, the fifth and final week of the second semester.   With the specials schedule that we have at Gold Rush this year, four weeks equals 1 instructional week in music for all of the students.  This post covers the time from May 3  - May 25, 2021.  

  • Third, Fourth and Fifth Graders had the opportunity to review their music skills in a fun way through Music Olympics this rotation.  Students were divided into teams (chosen by 4 captains) and competed in events involving melody and rhythm reading and writing skills.  Third graders competed in only team events.  Fourth and Fifth graders competed in team events, plus 2 ribbon events.  For each event, 3 points were awarded for 1st place, 2 points for 2nd place and 1 point for 3rd place.  The team with the most points at the end of the week got a team prize in addition to whatever ribbons individuals won.  Events included the Treble Clef Spell-It relay, the Treble Clef spell-it ribbon event, Play a Tune by Ear, Name that Tune, Rhythm Roll, Treble Clef Read-It, Dice Scramble, Rhythmic Dictation, Team note naming challenge and Rhythm Grab.
  • Kindergarten, First and Second Graders had a chance to be very active as we learned many traditional folk dances and movement activities this rotation.  These were selected from the following:
    • Scattered formation dances: Back to Back - Face to Face, Two-Part Dance, Minoeska (Giants, Fairies and Gnomes), Highway Number One and Sasha.  
    • Single Circle and partner dances: Kinderpolka, Heel and Toe Polka, Seven Jumps, Fjaskern, Little Shoemaker, Les Saluts and Sashay the Donut
    • Long-aways Set Dances:  Willowbee, Chimes of Dunkirk, Jubilee Rag, Zootio-O and Alabama Gal
    • Singing and movement games:  Jack in the Box and Charlie Over the Ocean

Friday, April 30, 2021

Week 8 in Music

Here is a synopsis of what happened in music - instructional Week #8, the fourth week of the second semester.   With the specials schedule that we have at Gold Rush this year, four weeks equals 1 instructional week in music for all of the students.  This post covers the time from April 5  - April 30, 2021.  For most, the focus was on Melody - with additional experience with Harmony and Form.

  • Fifth Graders experienced melody by learning a melodic Canon (like a round with staggered entrances, but all parts ending at the same time) as they learned and performed a piece by Henry Purcell, arranged for an Orff ensemble.  Many classes were able to perform the piece and make either a video or audio recording.  Those can be seen/heard on the In the Spotlight page of this blog.  Learning this piece had several challenges.  Part of the harmony is created by a Ground Bass which is played over and over as an ostinato.  Everyone took a turn at playing the contra bass bars that we are privileged to have.  In addition to that part, the canon is constructed of 3 phrases which feature a compositional tool known as melodic sequence.  Two other challenges is performing this piece is that it is in 3/4 time (2/4 and 4/4 are more prevalent) and at a slower tempo than is easily maintained - especially for young people that are wired for speed.  Students accomplished a lot in putting this piece together!
  • Fourth Graders not only experienced a Rondo - they helped to create parts of it.  We performed a piece that I wrote called the "C Scale Rondo".  Everyone learned the A section melody by ear and we rotated around the full set of tonebars so that everyone played the melody on every size instrument.  Then students were shown 8 melodic fragments (each 4 beats long) and asked to work in collaborative groups to create a new section for the piece.  Students grouped with like instruments (e.g. alto xylophone team, metallophone team, glockenspiel team) and created a 4-measure melody using at least 2 of the melodic fragments.  Students performed their creations for the rest of the class and the listeners identified which fragments were used and their order.  We worked to play all sections of the piece at a common tempo so that we could weave it together into a Rondo form.  (A B A C A D A E A . . . ) with each group playing their created melody as one of the contrasting sections and everyone joining together on the A section.  Many classes were able to perform the piece and make an audio recording.  Those can be found on the In the Spotlight page of this blog.  Learning this piece had several challenges.  Although students learned the A section by rote, students had to read the music (rhythm and pitch) of the melodic fragments to construct their new section.  Switching between the A section and their own new sections was also a challenge.
  • Third Graders learned and put together a layered melodic piece, based on the Dorian scale (D - D' with no sharps or flats), written by Randy DeLelles and Jeff Kriske called "Dance".  Students all learned each of two different melodies.  One was learned with from music notation and one by rote.  After students knew these two melodies, we divided into 3 groups to pull the piece together.  Six students concentrated on the first melody (the A section), playing it on alto xylophones.  Six students concentrated on the second melody (the B section), playing it on soprano xylophones.  The other 7-8 students took on playing the underlying accompanying ostinati which 'glued' the piece together - serving as the introduction and the interludes.  The whole piece went together in this form:  Introduction, A A, Interlude, B B, Interlude, A+B, A+B.  Students made an audio recording of the piece and then learned a folk style dance created to go with the piece.  One part of the dance lines up with the A section and one part lines up with the B section and both parts go together for the final section.  Please check out the classroom "Dance" videos which feature the students as both the musicians (the music you hear was recorded by the class in advance of learning the dance) - our  piece on the In the Spotlight page of this blog.
  • Second Graders returned to singing and playing the tone bars, focusing on melodic patterns using the pentatonic scale (Do, Re, Mi, Sol, La and high Do).  We began with echoes at the instruments, rotating so that all students had the opportunity to play at each size and type of instrument.  We began with 3-note tone sets and expanded to the full pentatonic scale.  One day was also spent writing melodic patterns using a 2-line staff.  Students were given the starting note and then asked to write the pattern they heard - melodic dictation - without the pitches being sung with solfeggio.  We used the sol-la-mi tone set and also mi-re-do for this.  In addition we brought back a piece we had played earlier in the year, changing the words for the season and adding new ostinato parts.  Students performed the entire piece in an ABA form - the A singing with rhythmic and harmonic ostinato accompaniments and the B section played on xylophones without singing. You can see videos of their work on the In the Spotlight page of this blog. 
  • First Graders returned to singing and playing the tone bars, focusing on melodic patterns using   Sol, Mi and La and then Mi, Re and Do.  As these two pitch sets went together we got to the full pentatonic scale.  Every students got to play every size instrument as we travelled around the tone bar ensemble, echoing melodic patterns sung using solfeggio and translated to the barred instruments.  We took one day to focus on writing melodic patterns from melodic dictation (hearing a pattern and writing it down) using a two-line staff.  Students also learned the singing/movement game "Bow Wow Wow" and revisited an old singing game friend, "Doggie Doggie Where's Your Bone?".    
  • Kindergartners were introduced to our melodic percussion instruments this week!  We began with some mallet exploration games, learning how to hold the mallets.  Students followed a "conductor" using simultaneous imitation.  We related steps such as walking and running in order to get alternating hands, and jumping in order to play with both hands bilaterally.  Students had the opportunity to play on all of the various sizes and types of instruments in the Orff tone bar ensemble - Bass, Alto and Soprano Xylophones, Bass, Alto and Soprano Metallophones, and Alto and Soprano Glockenspiels.  We explored melodic direction on the instruments - low to high and high to low.  Students were also introduced to a singing/movement game this week:  "Bow Wow Wow".  From this song students were introduced to two musical symbols - the quarter note (tah) which is one beat of sound, and its partner in silence - the quarter rest.  Students experienced this is movement and reading.  They played an ostinato pattern on the xylophones (tah, tah, tah, rest) and the glockenspiels (rest, rest, rest, tah).  Half of the class played the instruments while singing the first phrase of the song as an ostinato (repeated pattern), while the other half played the movement game and sang the song.  Then we switched so everyone got to do both parts.  In addition to this, students also learned a singing game, "Doggie, Doggie Where's Your Bone" which has two parts for solo singing.  Students also suggested different beat ideas for our circle song and played some beat based movement games.  Students have been singing, creating and playing instruments galore this week.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Week 7 in Music

Here is a synopsis of what happened in music - instructional Week #7, the third week of the second semester.   With the specials schedule that we have at Gold Rush this year, four weeks equals 1 instructional week in music for all of the students.  This post covers the time from March 1  - April 2, 2021.  For most, the focus was on Rhythm using Drumming pieces.

  • Fifth Graders returned to playing Drum Circle ensemble pieces.  We reviewed the basic strokes of bass and tone and revisited an "end" signal to bring pieces to a close.  We reviewed the 3 drum layers of the World Music Drumming Curriculum Ensemble 1 from week 2, then added in the single bell (iron castanet) the gankogui (double-bell) and the shekere layers.  On our final day students had the opportunity to play an improvised solo over the top of the rest of the ensemble on the djembe.  In addition to working on this ensemble, students learned a piece for Drum Ensemble using speech, "Jack-a-Dandy", arranged by Jim Solomon.  This piece also has many layers.  Please check out the classroom videos of this piece on the In the Spotlight page of this blog.  One of our days was also spent using the rhythms of these pieces to practice rhythmic notation.  Fifth graders were also introduced to a  rhythmic canon for Hand Drums and began thinking of rhythmic contrasts using the rhythmic building bricks for constructing their own rhythmic canon.  On the 5th day of the rotation we enjoyed a Talent Time.  Students had the opportunity to perform something for their classroom audience if they chose to.
  • Fourth Graders also returned to playing Drum Circle ensemble pieces.  We reviewed the basic strokes of bass and tone and revisited an "end" signal to bring pieces to a close.  We reviewed the 3 drum layers of the World Music Drumming Curriculum Ensemble 1 from week 2, then added in the single bell (iron castanet) the gankogui (double-bell) and the shekere layers.  On our final day students had the opportunity to play an improvised solo over the top of the rest of the ensemble on the djembe.  On the third day in this rotation, we practiced rhythmic dictation - hearing a rhythm and writing it down - using rhythms found in the drum pieces we were working on.  Additionally students worked in small groups to create their own original complementary rhythms using the model of Ensemble 1.  Fourth Graders learned an additional piece for Drum Ensemble developed from speech and body percussion "Alligator Bongo, Alligator Drum", arranged by Jim Solomon.  This piece also has many layers.  Please check out the classroom videos of this piece on the In the Spotlight page of this blog.  On the 5th day of the rotation we enjoyed a Talent Time.  Students had the opportunity to perform something for their classroom audience.
  • Third Graders got back to playing Drum Circle ensemble pieces.  We reviewed the basic strokes of bass and tone and revisited an "end" signal to bring pieces to a close.  Students echoed patterns and created patterns for the rest of the class to echo.  We reviewed the 3 drum layers of the World Music Drumming Curriculum Ensemble 1 from week 2, then added in the single bell (iron castanet) the gankogui (double-bell) and the shekere layers.  Students also learned and developed a Drum Ensemble piece based on speech, "Jelly on the Plate", by Chris Judah-Lauder.  Rather than playing the piece off the page, however, we extended the piece to a Rondo form.  Students researched jelly flavors and we created a list of those flavors sorted with 2-beat rhythmic building bricks.  Students worked collaboratively in small groups to create a 4 or 8 brick word chain.  Once the patterns were created, each was transferred to unpitched percussion instruments with each group having a different timbre.  These created sections became a section in a larger rondo form.  Please check out the classroom videos of this piece on the In the Spotlight page of this blog.  On the 5th day of the rotation we enjoyed a Talent Time.  Students had the opportunity to perform something for their classroom audience.
  • Second Graders reviewed the note values of quarter note, pair of eighth notes and half note (tah, tee-tee, ta-ah), and their corresponding rests through movement and reading and writing rhythmic notation.  In movement we also stacked the note values by moving in groups, responding to sound.  We reviewed hand drum technique and brought back a piece from the fall, "Three Plus".  We extended the piece by adding a 4th part on the gathering drum.  The gathering drum also played an interlude to connect the created parts of the B section.  In small groups students worked to create a beginning shape with drum or body connections, move through the space playing some music the group created and then freezing in a new position.  Students performed the entire piece in an ABA form.  You can see videos of their work on the In the Spotlight page of this blog.  Additionally, students practiced rhythmic dictation by writing down 4-beat patterns made of these note and rest values using stick notation.  On Friday, each group had a chance to perform for their peers in our Talent Time.  After that students chose favorite music and movement games to play.
  • First Graders reviewed the note values of quarter note and pair of eighth notes and were introduced to a half note (tah, tee-tee, ta-ah), and their corresponding rests through movement and reading and writing rhythmic notation.  In movement we also stacked the note values by moving in groups, responding to sound, one group moving only to tahs (walk) and one group moving to tee-tees (running).  We reviewed hand drum technique and learned a new piece from speech, "Drum Beat".  Students also all had the opportunity to play the gathering drum and we added a part for that instrument in our final performance.  We extended the piece by adding student improvisations with an interlude between them as the 'glue' - for the B section.  Students performed the entire piece in an ABA form.  You can see videos of their work on the In the Spotlight page of this blog.  Additionally, students practiced rhythmic dictation by writing down 4-beat patterns made of these note and rest values using stick notation.  On Friday, each group had a chance to perform for their peers in our Talent Time.  After that students chose favorite music and movement games to play.
  • Kindergartners completed their introduction to learning about the UnPitched Percussion instruments we have in the music room.   In this rotation they were introduced to the  Ring instruments (suspended cymbal, sizzle cymbal, finger cymbals, zhing, Chinese bell tree, tone bell, gong, tam-tam, wind chimes, cow bell, agogo bell and triangles ) as well as the Membranic instruments (hand drums, bucket drum, gathering drum, roto-toms, tubano, bongos, buffalo drum, donno, djembe, snare drum and bass drum). With each of these families students were introduced to the proper playing technique and the instrument name.   Each student took a turn playing every instrument around the circle.  With the hand drums, students also explored many ways to make sounds on the hand drum and shared one of their discoveries.  In addition to the "Listen" game with both families, we also played a game of "no Parking" with the hand drums.  In this game the object is to play when no one else is playing - just by watching and listening.  At the end of the week we brought back a few instruments from each of the Timbre Families - Click, Jingle, Rattle, Scrape, Ring and Membranic and took turns as the conductor, leading which instrument family would play.  In the next rotation, students will meet our pitched percussion instruments - the tone bars. (xylophone, metallophone and glockenspiel).

Friday, February 26, 2021

Week 6 in Music

  Here is a synopsis of what happened in music - instructional Week #6, the second week of the second semester.   With the specials schedule that we have at Gold Rush this year, four weeks equals 1 instructional week in music for all of the students.  This post covers the time from February 1  - 26, 2021.

  • The Fourth and Fifth graders continued using the ukulele, along with other instruments.  Students worked on a piece with 3 chords in the progression:  C, F and G7.   Fourth graders worked on an arrangement of "In the Jungle" and the Fifth graders an arrangement of a Bob Marley song,  Three Little Birds".  Each arrangement included a percussion ostinato, plucked melody or melodic riff on ukulele and a tone bar ostinato supporting the ukulele chords.  In both arrangements we used a youtube play-along version for ukulele which provided the singing since we are not able to do safely together in the music room at this time.  In addition to working on these pieces we also reviewed open string plucking with a piece called the Open String Groove.  Students were able to take solos at the mic and we added a 3-mallet and drum accompaniment.  Fourth and Fifth graders also reviewed the lines and spaces of the treble clef in preparation for the 50 in 5 challenge.  We reviewed the music alphabet and the way that pattern helps in figuring out notes  outside of the staff.  Students are becoming familiar with all of the treble clef notes from the B below the staff to the B above the staff (15 notes in total).  Students took the 50 in 5 challenge for the second time this year.  This is a timed note-naming challenge.  Students will have one more take on this when it comes back in the Music Olympics during our final rotation.
  •  Third also continued using the ukulele focusing on the C chord and open strings.  We added an accompaniment and solos into the piece Open String Groove.  Students also worked in centers, rotating to each one - to delve into the open strings and the C chord, practice treble clef note names and read 3-note ukulele pieces with treble clef and tablature notation.  The rotations included more work with strumming patterns and some strum along songs using the C chord.  In addition, students revisited the lines and spaces of the treble clef and we did a first take on a timed note naming challenge - 30 notes in 3 minutes.  
  • First and Second Graders continued their focus on melody using the pentatonic scale (Do, Re, Mi, Sol, La) and form.  They had a day of using Boom Whackers and our ContraBass Bars reading a musical 'score' consisting of colored dominoes.  Students rotated in groups so that everyone had a turn to play each note and one turn on a ContraBass Bar.  Students also explored Echo and extended forms with echo - this time with melodies.  Students worked in pairs to create and perform collaborative compositions in various 2 part elemental forms such as aabb, abab, and abba.  We also experienced some folk dances with 2 parts (AB) including a Swedish dance, Fjaskern and a French Canadian dance, Les Saluts.  

  • Kindergartners continued learning about the UnPitched Percussion instruments we have in the music room.   In this rotation they were introduced to the  Rattle instruments (maracas, chiquita maracas, egg shakers, vibraslap, handle castanets, nut rattle, shekere, shake-it and rain stick) and the Scrape instruments (guiro, multi-guiro, frog guiro, cricket, sand blocks, ratchet, Peruvian gourd scraper, Native American rasp, and the cabasa). With each of these families students were introduced to the proper playing technique and the instrument name.   Each student took a turn playing every instrument as they were passed around the circle.  Students were asked to match the beat as they played.  We also played a game called "Listen" which requires students to determine which instrument they are hearing without being able to see it and then name the instrument they heard.  Additionally, Kindergartners revisited some of their favorite movement activities and learned a new beat game called The Beat Detective.  

Friday, January 29, 2021

Week 5 in Music

 Here is a synopsis of what happened in music - instructional Week #5, the first week of the second semester.   With the specials schedule that we have at Gold Rush this year, four weeks equals 1 instructional week in music for all of the students.  This post covers the time from January 4  - 29, 2021.

  • For Third, Fourth and Fifth graders, we began learning to play the ukulele.  Using this instrument is allowing students to experience both melodic and harmonic performance.  Students are learning chord progressions and experiencing harmony in a new and interesting way.  As this is our first chance to play ukuleles we have been focusing on basic playing technique: holding, plucking and strumming.  Students have begun learning two chords:  C (I) and G7 (V7) in the key of C.  They worked independently or collaboratively to create a 4-beat strumming patterns with down and up strokes.  Students were also introduced to tablature with a familiar melody:  Hot Cross Buns.  
  • First and Second Graders have gotten back to performing melodies using our tone bar ensemble (xylophones, metallophones and glockenspiels).  Melodically we are using a pentatonic scale and adding splashes of color on the glockenspiels and a beat bordun accompaniment in the bass instruments.  Check out the In the Spotlight page of this blog for classroom created recordings of the piece each class put together this week using a pentatonic tone set:  Do, Re, Mi, Sol and La. 

  • Kindergartners began learning about the UnPitched Percussion instruments we have in the music room.  They are learning about them in timbre or tone color groupings.  In this rotation they were introduced to the  Click instruments (wood block, temple blocks, tap-a-taps, slap stick, rhythm sticks, claves, tone block, castanets and tongue drum, aka slit log drum) and the Jingle instruments (tambourine, cystrum, jingle bells, Indian dance bells, caxixi and sleigh bells). With each of these families students were introduced to the proper playing technique and the instrument name.   Each student took a turn playing every instrument as they were passed around the circle.  Students were asked to match the beat as they played.  We also played a game called "Listen" which requires students to determine which instrument they are hearing without being able to see it and then name the instrument they heard.  Additionally, Kindergartners revisited some of their favorite movement activities, "Giants, Fairies and Gnomes" and "Hey, Hey, Look at Me".

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Week 4 in Music

Here is a synopsis of what happened in music - instructional Week #4.   With the specials schedule that we have at Gold Rush this year, four weeks equals 1 instruction week in music for all of the students.  This covers the time from November 16  - December 17, 2020.


In our fourth week together in music we were mostly remote, and synchronous.  Third Graders were able to get back to playing recorder and they learned an additional note, G, which adds a lot of song possibilities - including the great recorder standard, Hot Cross BunsI.  

For all other grade levels, we turned our focus again to Music Aesthetics - particularly the connection between music expression and emotions.  For Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade we did many listening and responding activities, discussing pieces of music in terms of expression - tempo, dynamics and instrument choices.  Fourth and Fifth Graders completed listening logs and also worked independently or collaboratively to create and share a story to go with a selected Classical piece of music.  Many classes also had some time to share talent performances and sing favorite Winter Songs. (remotely)

Friday, November 13, 2020

Week 3 in Music

 Here is a synopsis of what happened in music - instructional Week #3.   With the specials schedule that we have at Gold Rush this year, four weeks equals 1 instruction week in music for all of the students.  This covers the time from October 19 - November 13, 2020.


In our third musical week together, our focus was building beat, rhythm, drum technique and playing as part of a percussion ensemble.  This was our first week back together full in person, too.
  • Kindergartners experienced beat and rhythm by responding through movement to basic steps of walk and run.  Students experienced contrasts in fast and slow with a movement response game, "Giants and Fairies/Gnomes" with the piece, Minoeska.  Using the poem, "Engine, Engine, Number Nine," students traveled to a steady beat, played the steady beat on sand blocks and patted the steady beat while saying the poem.  We discovered the number of beats in the poem and charted that in beat notation.  Using that as a basis, students discovered/uncovered the rhythm of the poem - which beats have one sound (tah) and which beats had two sounds on a beat (tee-tee).  The notation of quarter notes and pairs of eighth notes were introduced, although we will stick with using rhythm syllables until students have enough background knowledge of fractions to make sense of the traditional/mathematical note names.  Students used the poem to play a traveling game with lines of students as a "train".  The student at the front of the line had a set of sticks to play on buckets that were scattered on the carpet as our train stations.  Using the rhythm of the last two phrases of the poem, students said the words and then played the rhythm on the buckets (2x).  Each student had a turn to be the leader of their train.  
    • First Graders experienced beat, rhythm and hand drum technique this week.  We began with a welcoming song, (prerecorded so as not to sing together in the space, per COVID restrictions) - "I'm so Glad to See You".  We stepped to the beat during the singing phrases and then we were stationary, clapping to the beat for 8 counts.  This was then transferred from clapping to playing the hand drums.  In Kindergarten, students play all of the same size hand drums, but this week, 1st graders explored different sizes of hand drums and how that affects pitch - with the piece Big and Small.  Over the course of the week, students were reading and writing rhythmic patterns with quarter notes (tah), pairs of eighth notes (tee-tee) and quarter rests.  Some classes were able to make a video of their performance of the piece and you'll find that on the In the Spotlight page of this blog.
    • Second Graders experienced beat, rhythm and hand drum technique as we moved to various note values and learned two pieces for hand drums.  The first was a review from last year, Big and Small, highlighting two sizes of hand drums.  This was an opportunity to introduce the half note in notation (ta-ah).  In a 2nd piece, Three Plus, students read and performed 3 different rhythms.  This included an introduction to the use of bar lines and measures.  In addition to the rhythms of the other piece, this one introduced a half rest (2-beat rest). Three Plus is played on 3 different sized drums and all parts are layered simultaneously.  It is a big challenge to stick to your rhythm while others are going on.  This was our first experience in multiple layers and the level of musical independence that requires.  Videos of class performances are available on the In the Spotlight page of this blog.  Some groups extended the piece with an additional section using 4 beat improvisations of different sounds on the hand drums.
    • Third Graders experienced beat, rhythm and drum circle technique (playing for the first time on our school set of World Music Drumming tubanos.  Students learned two basic strokes - Bass and Tone.  Bass tones are played with a flexed hand / palm strike in the middle of the drum head, and Tone is played on the edge of the drum with all fingers, creating a higher sound.  We played some question / answer response activities and did some echo patterns.  Additionally, students learned all 3 drum patterns to the World Music Drumming curriculum Ensemble 1 - with 3 layered, complementary rhythms.  Third Graders also learned two Drum Ensemble pieces from speech patterns arranged by Jim Solomon:  Monkey, Monkey Moo and If You See a Monkey.  Using these pieces, students were introduced to a four sixteenth note pattern (tikatika), and a dotted eighth/sixteenth note pattern.  In addition to learning and performing these pieces, students practiced rhythmic dictation using quarter notes, eighth notes, half notes and sixteenth notes.  Check out the videos of class performances on the In the Spotlight page of this blog.
    • Fourth Graders experienced beat, rhythm and drum circle technique playing tubanos and congas.  We reviewed the two basic strokes of Bass and Tone and used them in echo patterns and warm-ups.  We did a question / answer activity with both words and drumming to introduce syllable to stroke playing.  We extended that question - answer pattern to include whole group echoes of individuals.  This helps to increase awareness of others in the drum circle.  In addition to reviewing Ensemble 1 from World Music Drumming, students learned a Drum Ensemble piece arranged by Jim Solomon, Old Dan Tucker.  This piece had a main rhythm based on a text, which included sixteenth notes patterns and dotted eighth/sixteenth note patterns.  Additionally, the other layers of the drum ensemble gave us an introduction to a dotted quarter / eighth note pattern.  Using these rhythms and others previously learned, students also practice rhythmic notation.  You can check out the videos of class performances on the In the Spotlight page of this blog.
    • Fifth Graders experienced beat, rhythm and drum circle technique playing tubanos and congas.  We reviewed the two basic strokes of Bass and Tone and used them in echo patterns and warm-ups.  We did a question / answer activity with both words and drumming to introduce syllable to stroke playing.  We extended that question - answer pattern to include whole group echoes of individuals.  This helps to increase awareness of others in the drum circle.  In addition to reviewing Ensemble 1 from World Music Drumming, students learned a Drum Ensemble piece arranged by Jim Solomon based on a traditional nursery rhyme, Jack Be Nimble.   This piece is in compound time (6/8) which means that beats are subdivided into is 3s, rather than 2s.  Learning the layered rhythms in this arrangement and decoding the main rhythm allowed for an introduction to reading and writing rhythmic patterns in compound time.  We used that reading skill to put together a 2nd piece, Lord of the Bodhran Dance, based on Celtic rhythms.  Students discovered the 8 measure phrase form for each of the 3 layers, but listening to the pattern while seeing the 2-beat compound rhythmic building block patterns.  Please check out the videos of class performances on the In the Spotlight page of this blog.
    Instruction for classes in quarantine was modified for online instruction - still focusing on the elements of beat and rhythm reading, but without the use of classroom percussion instruments.