Music Teacher Update:
At Devon every child is a musician! We are all singers, movers, composers, creators, analysts, and performers. The Music Room has been buzzing with energy and sound since the start of this school year!
** Kindergarteners are moving to the beat, singing, playing instruments, and responding to music! We are exploring our speaking voices, and learning to control the high and low sounds our voices can make. We listened for high and low sounds as we moved to Elgar’s “Fairies and Giants”, and transferred high and low to our singing voices in the game “Doggie, Doggie”. We are learning how to echo sing, imitate movement, identify rhyming words in songs, and be good listeners (“Be Still, Be Silent, Be a Sponge”). We always have so much fun with our classroom instruments: rhythm sticks, maracas, hand drums, tambourines, tone blocks! In the coming months we will be learning singing games, playing more instruments, and exploring musical stories like Peter and the Wolf.
** First graders are so fortunate to have Music class twice a cycle! We began the year with echo chanting/singing, moving to the beat, and exploring the range of our singing voices. Using the syllables of one- and two-syllable foods we created our own speech patterns to a steady beat. Through this process we learned quarter notes, eighth notes, and quarter rests. And since then we’ve been reading and performing many different rhythm patterns. We have also explored emotion in music, and learned to identify Major and Minor sounds. We sing many games like “Pass the Pumpkin” and “Five Brown Turkeys”, and we have learned how to play many new instruments to make stories like “The Gingerbread Boy” come alive! December was a magical month as we heard the story of “The Nutcracker” and explored Tchaikovsky’s music from the ballet. Currently we are analyzing Camille Saint-Saens’ “Carnival of the Animals”. We plan to create our own music that will describe characteristics and
personalities of animals in the rainforest. In the coming months we will play Japanese song-games, arrange our own rhythm compositions, and we will have so much fun with folk dancing!
Mastering simple rhythms and singing solfege (“So” and “Mi”) is how second graders started this year’s musical journey. We have expanded our rhythm repertoire with half notes, and have added the solfege syllables “La”, “Re”, and “Do”. We have had a lot of fun with singing games like “Golden Kernel” and “Pass the Broom”, and with playing xylophones and metallophones in “I Hear An Owl”. In December we explored Tchaikovsky’s “Chinese Dance” from “The Nutcracker” ballet, by using props like scarves, hoops, and streamers to identify the instrumental themes and form of the music. At the moment we are exploring the pentatonic sounds of traditional Chinese music, preparing a Chinese New Year song for performance, and learning about Chinese instruments. Soon we will be learning how to write and notate music! In the future months we will learn to sing the national anthem, kick up our heels with folk dancing, and explore the instruments of the orchestra.
** In third grade we are expanding our singing voices and learning to play the recorder! Each child has been given a recorder for instruction, and over time students have worked on mastering a gentle tone by whispering “doo”, memorizing fingerings, reading notation, and performing simple tunes on the notes B, A, and G. In November we explored Native American songs and mastered the art of singing in round. Soon we will be exploring The Blues: its rich history, the art form of 12-bar blues, and we will even play, sing, and create our own blues songs! In the spring third graders will learn about the instruments of the Band, sing the national anthem, learn how to sing a partner song, and we will begin our recruitment for next year’s Band and Chorus.
Fourth graders spend most of the fall expanding their note-reading range and mastering tunes in our Recorder Karate program, where there is a heavy focus on independent learning and musicianship. Most students participate in Chorus, so we spent some time in class expanding our vocal and reading skills with simple songs and rounds, as well as learning and memorizing the “Star-Spangled Banner”. Recently we have been exploring the connections between Art and Music. In cooperation with Miss Szekeres’ Art classes, we have been analyzing artwork, and creating music with classroom instruments that expresses the texture, color, line, shape, and space of art. Students spent a lot of time organizing, analyzing, and performing these creations, and through this rich experience learned much about leadership and cooperation. In future classes we will sing songs of the pioneers and learn folk dances of early America. The final months of class will be spent on Recorder Karate and
preparing songs for the spring concert and fourth grade promotion.