Music News from Peter 9/2013

We have an exciting year ahead, building on the amazing musicianship we developed last year. In the first few weeks we have explored a rhythmic theme and varied it through a number of different incarnations. Our first class started with a partner clapping pattern that demonstrates rhythmic diminution over 16 beats. 8:05am is a lovely time to get the mind focused by identifying and anticipating patterns. The beauty of learning in a group and with clapping partners is that everyone becomes the teacher. The reward becomes simply the joy of making that mistake, laughing about it, and then trying to get it right the next time around with the next partner. Ask your child to show you the clapping pattern for "My Name is -- My Name is --" You'll see what I mean. We then compared phrase length of different songs using the same partner clapping pattern, orchestrating it for percussion ensemble, and found that the old American song "Green Sally Up" as described by Bessie Jones in "Step it Down - Games, Plays, Songs, and Stories from the Afro-American Heritage" fits the clapping pattern perfectly. We've already sung music from Cameroon, "Dikole" in harmony, orchestrated a nonsense syllable rhythm in 3/4 for unpitched percussion ensemble, reviewed our pentatonic solfege singing, composed cup rhythms as we sang, and learned to work as a harmonious group through singing and dancing "Great Big House." In a few weeks we begin soprano recorders, and become aware of proper intonation through fine motor finger control, as well as breath and tonguing technique. Our first experience with recorders, though, as always in the Orff approach, will be playful, exploratory, and magical. The first sounds we make will be a tropical rainforest morning chorus of exotic bird calls.