This week, the first grade students learned a silly movement chant called "Hands, Hands." We warmed up our cold bodies by moving just one body part at a time. I think we could all agree that one of our most favorite was singing and moving our tongue. We also sang a winter song called "I Have a Little Snowman." It explores movement and pitch in a scale. As the song continues, the pitch of the song rises, and when the snowman melts the pitch returns back to the starting note (do). To review the pitches of "Sol-La-Mi" we learned a fun song and game called, "Doggie, Doggie." One student played the part of the dog who was sleeping in the middle of the room while another student distributed the bone to one person in the room as the class sang the song. Whoever had the bone on the phrase, "Who stole the bone?" got to sing the solo part of "I stole the bone!" It was so fun to see students guessing who they thought had the bone.
Second grade students reviewed a musical term from last year: tempo. Tempo is the speed of a piece of music. We practiced listening and moving to various tempos with a song called "Freight Train." Students also had a chance to compose a "tempo story." The class chose a topic, then as each part of the story was added, students determined its tempo: adagio, andante, or allegro (slow, medium, or fast). Then, we "performed" the story on percussion instruments, following the changing tempos. It was so much fun!
The third graders have been reviewing instruments and instrument families to prepare for next week's visit from the Lexington Symphony Orchestra. We played a really fun game of "Instrument Family Four Corners." We assigned these families to each corner of the room: Percussion, String, Woodwind, and Brass. Then, we announced an instrument - students had to determine which family it belonged to, then quickly travel to the appropriate corner. To extend the activity, we then played a recording of an instrument. The students then needed to figure out what instrument they were listening to before moving to the correct corner. Some were very tricky! The third graders also reviewed the notes and spaces on the staff by playing a fun beanbag game on the floor staff.
The fourth and fifth grade students started a new unit - chords! A chord (unlike a pitch or interval) is a group of three or more pitches played at the same time. There are MANY different chords in the music world, but we focused on chords with three or four notes. We explored the different tonalities that the chords can possess, and a process for building a chord that will sound good every time! Once everyone knew how to build a chord, we used the classroom floor staff to learn how to notate and label them.
The fourth graders also learned a song for the New Year, "Auld Lang Syne" (a Scottish tune that is typically heard right after the ball drops in Times Square!). Next week, we will be adding a chordal accompaniment to the song using the tone chimes. The fifth grade students will get to play chords along with a fun song from the 80s by a Norwegian band called A-ha...Take on Me!