During the month of March, we studied music from around the world in all grade levels. In particular, we looked at music from Western Africa.
This month, we are using one of our folk songs and creating different arrangements using Orff and non-pitched percussion instruments. Each grade level will experiment with improvising using set melodies and learning to read to sheet music. We hope to put everything together for the "Farewell to Connaught on 4th" potluck at the end of the month!
Welcome back after a delightful February break. Over the next 7 weeks (until Easter break), we will be exploring music and dance from around the world. We start our study with world drumming and songs originating from Western Africa.
Kindergarten - Grade 2: The main goal is to keep a steady beat while drumming, perform 2-beat echos and start creating repetitive rhythmic patterns (also called rhythmic ostinatos)
Grade 3/4: We extend our skills by adding syncopated rhythms (off-beat rhythms) on the drums and begin adding more layers with the use of non-pitched percussion instruments.
Grade 5/6: We are currently building our repertoire of drum patterns through technical practice. Eventually we will use these patterns in improvising.
Grade 7/8: The goal is perform an ensemble piece with multiple layers - different rhythmic patterns, non-pitched percussion instruments, singing and dance.
Grade 1-2: Students are creating their own body percussion compositions. We have practiced different snapping, patting, stomping and snapping patterns. Now we make our own patterns!
Grade 3/4: The goal this week is to learn two chords - C and G7 (modified single string chords). When we master this, we can start playing well known folk tunes, like Skip to My Lou and Happy Birthday.
Grade 5/6: We are continuing our STOMP projects. Two more work periods before we perform during the last week before the February break.
Grade 7/8: This week we are working to create a positive classroom culture so we can take risks during improv exercises in drama.
Happy 2017! January is one of my favourite times of the year because students (and teachers!) are refreshed from a nice break and routines are set in place. For the next 6 weeks, we have a few exciting things planned in Arts Education at ÉCCS!
Grade 1-2: We are exploring a unit on body percussion - which is basically using your body (patting, snapping, clapping, stomping, etc) to create different music patterns. The goal at the end of the unit is to create our own compositions that show an understanding of beat and rhythm.
Grade 3-4: Guitar! These students have patiently waited for this unit since they saw the guitar wall at the beginning of the year. We will begin with a basic study of the instrument, and begin learning modified chords on the guitar - perfect for Grade 3/4 sized hands. By the end of the unit, we will be playing some well known tunes, like "Happy Birthday"!
Grade 5-6: STOMP - using found objects within our school and homes to create sounds compositions that show an understanding of form. We started our unit by watching this film for inspiration: STOMP Out Loud
Grade 7-8: We are changing our focus to the drama strand of arts education. In particuluar, we are exploring humour and how it is used in improvisation, story telling and everyday life. The unit will include lots of fun exercises to build confidence and trust in a drama setting.
It is hard to believe it is already December! One of my favourite things to do at this time of year is celebrate the diversity of our school populations by looking at holiday celebrations around the word. There are lots of songs, dances, games and stories that guide this exploration.
Kindergarten - Grade 2: we will be looking at celebrations within our school community and have some fun with the music that makes this time of year so great!
Grade 3-4: Last week, we started working on a traditional Iroquois lullaby, "Ho, Ho, Watanay". We are taking the piece one step further on the barred instruments, by learning how to read music on a musical staff and transfer it to the barred instruments.
Grade 5-6: This week, M. Ingola's class completed their final guitar class with some performances from students. Both French and English 5/6 classes will focus on a study of rhtyhm vs. beat this week. Beat is the steady pulse and rhythm is long or short sounds grouped together.
Grade 7-8: Both French and English classes will complete their guitar unit with final performances and assessment. As a mature student, we are working on how to set goals and improve instrumental skills. For example, if the guitar string is not sounding correctly, how can we fix it? Try pushing down harder on the string, or make sure you are not muting the string with another finger.
I always love this time year of year at school because we are starting to get into a steady groove in all classes. The first couple months are about developing routines and working on the basic skills (reading rhythms, focusing on our singing voices, etc). The end of the year goal is get students improvising and creating music on the spot. As we head towards the middle of the year, we are working on understanding form in music and how to rehearse compositions.
Kindergarten - Grade 2: Using our voices to add sound effects to stories and poems. This allows students to experiment with their voices and instruments and explore elements of music like dynamics and tempo.
Grade 3-4: Students learn a song through the Orff method. They will incorporate singing, movement and instruments and learn how to work collaboratively through music. This week we will focus on exploring the different tone colours of instruments and how they can be used to create a specific mood. Stay tuned for a video of their work!
Grade 5-8: Students are working on guitar songs of their choice and preparing fret diagrams with the chords from each song. One of the classes is also putting together a rhythmic performance using cups (based on the "Cup Song") and showing their understanding of form. At this level, students learn how to troubleshoot and figure out ways to improve their performance. Lots of collaboration takes place!
This week we started guitar in all Grades 5-8 classes. Our first class involved learning the parts of the guitar, string names and how to read a fret diagram. Our first chord was the D Major chord. For extra practice at home, here is a great YouTube lesson!
Here are the Grade 7/8s from Ms. Hampton's class working on their hand position for the D chord!
Lucky me! I teach arts education to all K-8 students :)