You know what they say about March? It comes in like a lion and out like a lamb. We can definitely agree it comes in like a lion, considering we have a snow day today. Let’s hope the end of March will be warmer and we will have less snow. On a positive note, we have completed more than half of the school year.
Anyway, here are the following areas we will be working on throughout the month for each grade.
We are working on two new songs for the spring sing. In addition, we will be finishing our unit on beat and soon move on to our unit on high/low voice. One way we will accomplish this by placing visuals on the board representing the beat as students chant using their high voice or low voice. Another way this will be accomplished is children will decide how to chant a song using a high or low voice. Students perform the beat high in the air or low by their feet according to the voice they used. The end goal is for students to be able to chant and sing songs in a high and low voice.
We have started working on our spring sing songs. One is an upbeat jazz song and the other is a ballad, which is a song Louis Armstrong was well-known for performing. Besides working on our spring sing songs, we will be singing in small groups. We will also be working on looking at songs with quarter rests. The end goal of this unit is for students to know when a beat has no sound, we label it as a rest. Students will be able to discern if a beat has no sound visually and aurally. We will also incorporate the previous element we learned in our last unit, which was sol and mi.
The two songs we are working on in 2nd grade are famous songs written by two famous composers. Students have also become experts chanting the rhythm for the song Here Comes A Bluebird with rhythm syllables and knowing which note is a half note. This month we will learn about the solfege syllable re. So far, we have internalized a pitch between mi and do internally through the song Hot Cross Buns. In addition, students have used hand signs to show mi, re, and do for the song. Our next step is to create a visual representation of what we hear using unifix cubes. Students will share their representations with each other on what they heard.
For the Spring Sing we will be playing two recorder songs with five notes. One of these songs is in triple meter and the other is about spring time. The song we will be singing is a fun swing song, which I sure the audience will want to dance in their seats or even get up to dance when we perform on April 10th. In addition to working on our Spring Sing songs, we will also be looking at how a rhythm can have three uneven sounds on a beat. This rhythm is two sixteenth notes followed by an eighth note. The song we have sang that features this rhythm is Fed My Horse. Our next step will be able to sing the rhythm syllables to the song. We will also use body percussion as we perform different rhythms.
We will continue fine tuning our bow holds and left hand positions. In addition, we will look at different rhythms and notes present in our concert pieces. Besides having students just learn the pieces for the concert, the goal is for students to learn the language of music. This means continuously working on note reading and transferring it to playing it on instruments. In addition, I will teach common musical vocabulary children will see. I want students to be able to communicate and understand the language of music. When this is accomplished, I know learning the concert pieces will come easy to students.
We are now able to play A Very Short History of Music entirely. We will refine the piece from now until the concert particularly on playing with expression. The piece includes different sections each written during a different musical period. We will ensure each section is played differently according to the time period the section was composed. Students also recently started a new piece. This piece is an old patriotic song. We are working on the dotted quarter note hooked to an eighth, since this is a prominent rhythm in the piece.
Moreover, I also wanted to share reasons why people perform music. Performing music isn’t just about getting all the notes correctly. If you can do that, that’s great, but there is so much more to playing music. It’s also about forming connections with people you are playing with, communicating, and creating something beautiful to bring people together. If we think about those reasons, learning our concert pieces will be more enjoyable. Let’s always remember the positive reasons for playing music.