Our musical headline was beat or pulse (specifically experienced through sound and silence) and beat groupings known as meter.
- Kindergartners experienced beat by walking and running in even steps as they took turns in "Let's Go Walking". The sound of the tambourine matched their footsteps and each student's names were added to a chart, designating how many claps (or syllables) are in their name. In addition, students explored the movement space with different steps, accompanied by drum or recorder. This was woven together with an anchor song, This is My Place, This is My Space. We tried out additional verses and beat ideas for our Circle song, and played a singing, creativity solo game called Jack in the Box.
- First Graders experienced beat as we shook hands in greeting with a welcome song, "Good Afternoon". We worked with the musical symbols for one beat of sound and one beat of silence (Tah and Rest). We did this with movement and notation. Using the beat (sound/silence pattern) of our feet in the singing game, Jump, Jim Joe we took a first turn at accompanying ourselves on the xylophones. Students learned about care of the instruments in how to remove bars. Using mallet play and mirroring, students (re)discovered the correct mallet hold. We played a bordun accompaniment while singing Good Afternoon. Additionally, each student created a 4 beat tah / rest pattern for the class to read (clap and say). Each student had a turn as a soloist to read a pattern alone, and then the whole class performed the pattern. (Solo - Tutti).
- Second Graders learned the welcome song and greeting routine (building and erasing the line) with Good Afternoon. Revisiting a singing game that they learned in the first rotation, Cut the Cake, students figured out how many beats the song lasted. Using the beat as an organizer, students then figured out the rhythm of the song - (comprised of tahs, tee-tees and 1 beat rests). We played that singing game many times of the course of this week, too. Second graders also played some rhythm games / challenges using these notes and rests: The Poison Pattern (an echoe / listening game), Double Trouble - (a Rhythm Reading Game/Challenge) and Add a Beat. Each person in the class chose a card at random with either a Tah (quarter note), Rest (quarter rest) or Tee-Tee (pair of eighth notes). These were laid out in one 24 beat line. Students clapped and said the pattern and then transferred it to hand drums. Students also experienced the Rhythm Erase challenge with a 16 beat pattern of Tahs and Tee-Tees, based on a rhythm that they wrote down (in 4-beat increments) from dictation. On Friday the classes that had all 5 days in this rotation (Gold and Red) enjoyed a Talent Time (chance to share performances) and then chose music/movement games and activities.
- 3rd, 4th and 5th graders all started the week with a day of Drum Circle work - revisiting the Rhythm of "Good, Better, Best" from the 1st rotation - reviewing Bass and Tone, and single and double strokes. We added 2 different rhythmic ostinati and put them on different drum sizes/voicing - Low Drums (Try, Try, Try again) and High Drums (_ _ Don't Give Up). We also added the iron bell and shakers on the beat to complete the ensemble.
- Third Graders reviewed tah/rest notation with reading and writing patterns. They zeroed in on beat and meter through listening to determine the meter or beat groupings of 2 Strong/Weak) 3 (Strong/Weak/Weak) 4 (Strong/Weak/Weak/Weak) and 5 (Strong/Weak/Weak/Strong/Weak). They experienced the beat and meter in conducting patterns, and in movement/listening games like Meter Match-Up. Third Graders also identified the meter in given musical examples, showing their answers with colored squares to indicate the pattern of strong and weak beats. Third graders also explored meter in regards to time signatures and the way bar lines group beats into measures with 2/4, 3/4, 4/4 and 5/4. We played meter listening games to reinforce the concept of meter or beat groupings and did some work at the board putting in bar lines to match a given time signature. On Friday the classes that had all 5 days in this rotation (Gold and Red) enjoyed a Talent Time (chance to share performances) and then chose music/movement games and activities.
- Fourth Graders worked with beat/pulse with sound and silence and beat groupings. We did several movement games matching a drum, such as Add and Subtract. Matching a drum beat, students step 8 beats. Each time the pattern repeats, one step is taken away and in its place a clap is added without moving. This continues until all beats are clapped and then the steps begin to be added back in. This week 4th graders also had the challenge of discovering all of the possible 4 beat combinations which could be made with one beat symbols for sound and silence. (There are 16 of them). They first worked in class independently or with a partner and then finished the work as homework, bringing it with them to music the next time. With this in hand, the class notated them at the SMART board and then put them into a single 16 measure string - considering musical flow, strong beginning and ending, etc. Students read the patterns from start to finish with clapping and saying, then transferred it over to hand drums. One day was spent on a listening/movement assessment of beat, phrase and meter awareness which I refer to as A Circle of Beat Leaders. Each student has a turn to lead a demonstration of the beat that their small circle follows. The idea is to listen to discern the underlying pulse in the music being played and show it in body percussion. On Friday the classes that had all 5 days in this rotation (Gold and Red) enjoyed a Talent Time (chance to share performances) and then chose music/movement games and activities.
- Fifth Graders also focused on beat experienced through sound and silence. Fifth Graders completed their first composition project and performance in this rotation. They experienced a graphic notation of sound and silence using cups on the floor arranged in a 4 x 4 configuration which could be read from 4 different sides or perspectives - each with a different beginning and ending point. It was a challenge to play them each simultaneously (Tutti). After experiencing this as a class composition, students divided into groups of 4 to create their own original sound/silence 4x4 composition and structure a performance of the piece. Students had the opportunity to create the form for the performance and choose sounds or instruments to play their part on - focusing on the musical elements of Form and Timbre. Each group performed their piece for the rest of the class, giving me a chance to focus in on each student reading their sound/silence pattern. This collaborative composition will be used for Base Line Data as students continue to compose and create music throughout this school year. On Friday the classes that had all 5 days in this rotation (Gold and Red) enjoyed a Talent Time (chance to share performances) and then chose music/movement games and activities.
In the coming rotation 'week 3' (September 19- October 6) the musical focus will be Melody.