Currently 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
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
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.
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
In my opinion the best songs to teach music are always the fun songs. Subtly teaching children how to sing melodies and using their voice as an instrument in fundamental in learning music. When teaching preschoolers the nuances of pitch, rhythm, dynamics and pitch the easiest and most effective is songs with simple melodies and body movement.
My three favourite songs to teach children always bring a smile to childrens faces and most of the time the adults too!
Here are my 3 fav’s.
This is a Maori song and completely not in English and yet it is so so easy to learn. I always start by showing the children all the different movements we are going to do and the corresponding word for that movement.
Paki Paki = Clap Clap
Kani Kani = dance
Huri huri = turn around
E Peke = jump
Hula = hula movement
Haka = haka movement
paki, paki, paki, paki tamariki ma
paki, paki, paki, paki tamariki ma
Kani, Kani, Kani, Kani tamariki ma
Kani, kani, kani, kani tamariki ma
Huri, huri, huri, huri tamariki ma
Huri, huri, huri, huri tamariki ma
E peke, e peke tamariki ma
E peke, e peke tamiriki ma
Hula, hula, hula, hula tamariki ma
Hula, hula, hula, hula tamiriki ma
E haka, E haka tamiriki ma
E haka, e haka tamiriki ma
Here is a link of me singing with my little kiddies, such a fun song!
Another Maori song about a little rabbit.
Oma Oma Oma
Oma Rapeti Oma Rapeti
Oma Oma Oma
Piko, piko, piko, piko,
piko, piko, piko
Toro, toro, toro, toro,
Toro, toro, toro
The hand actions can be seen in my youtube video
Heres the link for you to listen to Oma Rapeti
and my all time fav children’s song is Inanay, an Aboriginal lullaby.
Inanay Gupa wana (clap hands to the beat)
Inanay Gup wana
Ay ay ay oola
oola ay oola ay
Yippee yay yippee yay
Goo wanna Goo wanna (raise hands above head and clap semi quavers)
goo wanna goo wanna
Choo (spray fingers out towards child)
I have a link of me singing this song as well!
here it is Inanay
Theses 3 songs have all the elements of simple melodic tunes, repetition and easy hand and body actions for children to copy. I hope you enjoy singing them with your students
Happy Music making
Tomorrow I am conducting my first class after having my 3rd baby
He is only 3 months old, so it hasn’t been a longtime since teaching but feels forever. I stopped teaching in early June. I feel as though I have changed so much in these last 3 months. Personally speaking my father who I treasured and loved passed away after a long battle with cancer. So when I stopped teaching I wasn’t really relaxing waiting for our new arrival I was travelling to the hospital daily and trying to support my dad with his swift decline.
My mind was far from preparing to have a baby and certainly far from my music classes. The things that brought me joy were put on hold while I started my grieving process. Dad passed away on the 1st July and my little baby Zayne was born 4 days later on the 5th July.
My father was an accomplished musician and song writer and listening to his music has given me solace as I hear him sing and play his bouzouki. I just want to hear his voice sometimes, this has made me cry at the beginning, but now makes me smile. Dad also promised me his bouzouki which I am so very grateful I have and is sitting proudly in my music room.
So tomorrow I am teaching a music class, interestingly enough it is at a Rehab centre which the residents have their children stay with them and I feel like I haven’t taught in “forever” when the reality is it is only 4 months.
I feel altered by these recent events the oldest man i loved and the newest man I love today have changed who I am and I wonder how I will translate that into my music class. I’m excited to go, I miss teaching. It is a guilty self indulgence as I receive more from teaching music than my students do from learning.
I will be singing one of my own songs which my father helped me transpose. The purpose of the song is to teach singing in a Major scale. I have included it below:
Song: Going To The Moon (sitting on floor tap your knees) Get in the spaceship we’re going to the moon, going to the moon, going to the moon Where are we going? We’re Going to the moon, Today 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 ,1 Blast off (jump up) (sing in Major scale) touch Toes (8), knees(7), hips(6), tummy(5), shoulder(4), head(3) house(2), crouch down(1), Blast Off (stretch arms out and fly around the room) Get in the spaceship we’re flying to the moon, flying to the moon, flying to the moon Where are we going? We’re Going to the moon, Today 8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 Blast off (walk a slow moon walk) Get out off the spaceship, we’re walking on the moon, walking on the moon, walking on the moon Where are we going? We’re Going to the moon, Today 8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 Blast Off (crouch back down to the floor and pretend to be asleep) Get into the spaceship we’re going back home, going back home, going back home Where are we going? We’re going back home going back home going back home
Thanks for listening, and I hope you like the song there is a lot of learning in this piece, such as the movement and physical touch for each step of the major scale, singing and is a lot of fun.
We had the whole range of emotions from tantrums, tears, excitement and laughter. and for some strange reason the only way to settle my 3 year old is to sing “The Way We Were” by Barbra Striesand which has the power to lull her into a calm sleep.
So this got me thinking about children and their emotions and the part music plays into this.
Music is a wonderful way for children to experience emotions as well as express themselves. I have used a game where I ask the children to sing a well known nursery rhyme such as Baa Baa Black Sheep. I then ask them to sing the song again but with a sad voice, happy voice, angry voice….. you get the point. Children love expressing themselves and often they request different emotions to sing and is a great way to encourage shy children to get involved in a music class. Some of the suggestions even surprise me such as singing in a nervous voice.
Another idea to explore an understanding of music is through movement and classical music. Classical music portrays emotions on a subliminal level which is great for discussing what children hear and feel.
I usually start an exercise by having the children sitting down and ask them to listen to the piece of music I play. After 30 seconds of listening I ask them do you think this is happy or sad? I hand out scarves to each child and ask them to move around the room as though they are feeling sad,happy or angry. Children will stamp their feet, or flitter around like birds and is really quite beautiful to stand back and watch.
This takes some practice to have the children identify with the music and takes a couple of weeks to comprehend what I am teaching. There have been plenty of occassions where children will be moving around the classroom listening to a piece of music and say “This is scary” or “I feel like a dinosaur.”
An obvious music selection is to play a minor piece of music to represent sad and a Major piece of music to represent happy.
You can try:
3 Gymnopedies- Erik Satie for sad music
Blue Danube – Johann Strauss II for happy music
As a parent I often drive the kiddies around while listening to the radio and the children often talk about whether this is a happy or sad song. Identifying emotion in music can be an easy and fun game with children and builds their confidence. Any type of music works such as pop music, country music, etc.
Just the other day I heard my children playing on the piano and they were hitting the bass keys and quizzing whether the piano was crying or laughing, children never cease to amaze me with their creativity.
The benefit of exploring emotions through music, it to identify minor and major scales and develop their musical ear. Secondly it develops their comprehension skills and focus. Thirdly teaching emotion through music also improves emotional development and insight and assists your child or class to be well rounded and emotionally intelligent.
I hope you enjoy these ideas and would love to hear about your thoughts and experiences.
- Gray Matter: Why We Like Sad Music (athomesense.com)