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.
- 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.