October 24, 2014: Music

Fourth Graders have been developing their individual skills which then add to the ensemble work of the entire class.   Vocal skills, Rhythmic speech, Creative Movement, and Kinesthetic body percussion skills are the foundations for fine motor instrumental work and notation reading and writing.  

Music Informances!
Come participate in a music class!  These will not be performances - you will be expected to sing, dance, learn, and play along with your child!  Because the activities we do in class ask a great deal of personal risk-taking by the children, I ask that you do not record video of the experience.  Step in, join hands, and you will take a better memory with you.  Please come dressed prepared to sit on the floor as well as move around a bit.   If you can't make this one, don't worry, I will also open an Informance class in the Spring.  
4B: Nov11 8:15-9am
4A: Nov12 8:15-9am
4C: Nov13 8:15-9am
We started the year with a Taiwanese fishing song, "Heio," which has an accompanying step rhythm that we used with a bamboo pole stepping dance.  The rhythm from "Heio" became the foundation for a Congolese song, "Si Si Si."  By combining music from one piece with another, students find out that the meter (ask your child what "meter" means) has to be the same for the two parts to fit snugly together.     
One class composition played with constantly changing meter.  Using a pattern of "Step - Pulse - Clap," students were presented with a aural pattern of reducing meter (8 Steps, 8 Pulses, 8 Claps - 777- 666 -555- 444 - 333 - 222 - 111).  As they moved through the room and tried to determine the scheme, their movements showed their understanding, and helped others through non-verbal communication.  Once they figured out that the meter was changing, each class was given a composition assignment.  "What else could we do with this idea?"  

One group composed an arrangement with this idea - rearranging the meter to be: 222, 444, 666, 888, 777, 555, 333, 111 - with each repeated meter played by a different instrument group - Basses, Metals, Alto xylophones.
We have recently been using the poem, "Changeling" by Leah Bodine Drake as the inspiration for a movement and music integrated interpretation (and a visual art collaboration with Sarah in Art).  The music is from the Orff/Keetman Music for Children volumes, but since the meter is 6/4, we of course first stepped through the tricky strong and weak beats while singing a melody in a minor mode (spooky!).   They added their own rhythmic instruments inside the metric pattern, and finally a simple recorder part to the pattern.  Here is an example of the spooky ostinato and melody.  

 The recorder part will be 'changed' by the kids themselves in small groups as they notate their own note decorations to the basic melody.  We are using iPads with NotateMe installed.  This app has earned my "music app skeptic" seal of approval.  It reads your handwritten notation and prints it above in clear notation.  If your notation handwriting is not written clearly, the app simply doesn't print it yet.
(All instruments, music department technology hardware and software, professional workshop fees, and source materials are purchased through Run for the Arts funds.  Thank you for your continued support of the Art and Music program at TIS.) 

4th Graders notate recorder music on iPads
Screenshot of a 4th grade student's NotateMe sample.

(Ask your child:  Your child should know their ABC group, and their Recorder #)

Here is the simple recorder melody that we have been reading -
Please have your child practice this melody on recorder.

"...Happy I Be, Happy I Be, when the changeling blood runs green in me..."