Music Appreciation

shutterstock_128158010Currently during our RHYTHM RUMBLE music class we are using the theme of Jungle to create our musical learning focus.  The theme is a great one for imitating animals and an easy subject matter for young children to connect with.

We have been working all year on developing Childrens understanding of tempo, timbre,  dynamics, and pitch so as the end of the year is nearing, our lessons are a culmination of all these elements. Our main learning outcome is music appreciation and understanding the differences in tempo, dynamics, and intervals.

Music appreciation looks deeper into the logistics of music making and takes a step further,  such as emotional comprehension and how to interpret the sounds with your body and heart.

During this particular lesson we are using 3 pieces to create this understanding

Carnival of the Animals: V Elephants – Camille Saint-Saëns.listen here

Using a scarf it is always best to tell a story for the children to ignite their imagination.

Prior to handing out our scarves I play about 30 secs of the music and ask the children to listen very carefully.  Then I asked them if it a slow song or fast?  Loud or soft?  I always paint a picture with words of a jungle with a big elephant and his trunk.  Lets use the scarf as a trunk.  Can you show me how you would walk like an elephant? and then I replay the music.  This activity works only if there is an opposing piece of music to compare their body movement to which is Ma mère l’oye, for piano, 4 hands (or orchestra), M. 60 – Ravel   

listen here

In stark contrast to moving like an elephant, the next piece of music is more serene and flowing.  Again I create a story of a snake slithering through the long grass.  The children listen to the music and change the way they interpret the music and move their body in line with what they hear.  It is truly magical being a part of the creative process of Children.

Carnival of the Animals: IX Cuckoo in the heart of the woods – Camille Saint-Saëns listen here

has a very distinct motif flowing through the piece.  This activity is aimed at our Kinders.  They sit in a circle and every time they hear the motif they tap their knees and sing the cuckoo sound.  We are working on listening and tapping for a few weeks, and then working up to walking around the room as a cuckoo bird and pausing to sing the motif “cuckoo” sound.  So far it has been working brilliantly as the children sing the interval in perfect pitch and are so in the moment while listening for the cuckoo sound.  I guess this could also be used a a mindfulness activity for the strength it has in keeping the children in the present moment has been astounding to me while I witness it.

Teaching young children how to interpret different kinds of music leads to a greater understanding of creativity. Moving in different ways eg. stomping and slithering like a snake has wonderful affects on their motors skills and creates a greater appreciation and understanding of music.

EYLF Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators – Children engage in a range of texts and gain meaning from these texts.

EYLF Outcome 1: Children have a strong sense of identity – Children feel safe secure and supported.

 

Happy music making

Lola

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Kids calming down exercises

During Rhythm Rumble’s music classes they can get pretty hyped up.  Depending on the group you are teaching I have worked out different techniques and stratiegie’s to calm down the class before we leave.

Nothing worse than having a preschool music program come into your childcare that leaves the children hyped up and energised and difficult to transition into the next activity.

So in the interest of Educators and the children I have devised several calming down activities that are simple and effective.

I “inherited” a class that 2 previous teachers were having difficulty handling, so I knew I had my work cut out for me.  There were some very dominant personalities in the class and also very intelligent so boredom was definitely an issue.

During the class there was much chatter going on while I was introducing the next activity and I thought how am I going to get their attention.

So I sang “Eyes on Lola” in a fairly high pitch but not loud.  Some of the children stopped and looked at me.  I consider 75% of the class is paying attention so I continued and said When I sing “Eyes on Lola” you can respond back with “Eyes on Us” and you have to look at my eyes and I will look at all of your eyes.

So we did it again, I sang “Eyes on Lola”‘ and they responded with “Eyes on Us”

Now every time the chitter chatter becomes too much I sing this simple tune and they automatically respond their part.

Criss Cross Applesauce

I have adapted this from a yoga video I saw, and since I know nothing of yoga I thought I would sing a song along with the pose.  This works especially well after a very energetic activity and transitions the children into a different state of calm.

Cross your legs
Ask the children to find their heart
then ask them to rub their tummy
Stretching left arm over body and alternating the right hand over body move
your body move in a swaying motion while singing
“Criss Cross Applesauce” repeatedly (5-6 times)
then in a soft voice say
“Everyone find your heart and take a big breathe in
now breathe out and rub your tummy”
repeat if there is still a lot of movement from the children.
Tapping

This strategy takes patience and trust.  If the children are not paying attention, instead of speaking louder or removing children from the group try this.

Sitting very still start tapping your knees.  There will always be a few children watching you.  Once they start copying you, change the body part for example start tapping your head, and keep changing once you have everybody’s attention.  Then you can give your instruction in a calm voice.  It is most effective if you DO NOT speak while doing the tapping.

Hope these exercises help in managing your preschool class.

Happy music making

Lola