This week, a guest poster: Laca Tines. She is a student in our methods class (you may have seen her observing), and a wonderful early childhood music teacher herself. As part of our class, she was asked to write an observation report. I thought hers was keenly observed, and asked for her permission to post it. It is always interesting to see our work through other’s eyes. Thanks, Laca!
Dalcroze Observation/1-31-17 Instructor: Michael Joviala 7-9 year-olds
ACTIVITY: Story/Fairies and Elves, Phase 1: individual movement
T placed scarves on the floor around the room. Each student had a turn to move around the room in any way she chose and then navigate the scarves by jumping over them, walking around them, etc.
T accompanied each child’s movement on piano.
Response: Most children chose to skip around the room and then jump over each scarf. (One student did choose to walk for a bit before skipping–an interesting choice which she seemed to make quite deliberately.) Students were very engaged and eager to see what was next. Purpose: locomotor exploration/improvisation, navigatng space/energy
ACTIVITY: Story/Fairies and Elves, Phase 2: group movement, listening for cues
All students were to move around the room and jump over the scarf “holes” when they heard the musical cue. T, at piano, played predictable pattern and students successfully leapt at the appropriate time. T then added some variations, such as asking students to jump only when eighth notes were played.
Response: Most students were successful. All were very engaged.
Purpose: listening, anIcipaIng paQern/phrase length, recognizing duraIon (as when listening for eighth notes), navigaIng space/energy
TRANSITION: In the spirt of the story, “fairies and elves” were asked to find a scarf to fluQer as they fell asleep to the song
T: played “Ah, Poor Bird” on piano.
Response: Students quickly recognized the tune and naturally began to quietly sing.
Purpose: (re)introduce the song, give students a chance to relax/shiV gears
ACTIVITY: Fairies/Elves, Phase 3: Which notes are longer?
T played “Ah, Poor Bird” on piano and asked students to hold scarves, travel around the room, and toss/catch their scarves on the longer notes. Students were then asked to jog the underlying eighth notes/walk the quarter notes/walk the half notes, while still tossing their scarves on the long notes.
Response: Students were successful in recognizing/showing the longer notes, but not always able to step the duraIons.
Purpose: recognizing duraIon, awareness of phrase length and form, experiencing mood of song
Note: It seemed that children were not dis3nguishing the difference between measure 3 and the other measures (not realizing it did not end in a half note). I was curious about this, but am not certain I am remembering the rhythm correctly. Perhaps, there was just no need to make it an issue.
TRANSITION: Fairies/Elves arrive home. All rest on ground. Purpose: relax and refocus
ACTIVITY: Game, 1-3-5 recogniIon
As an introducIon to the acIvity, T placed three papers on the floor (each in a different area of the room), while singing a neutral syllable paQern on scale degree 1, then on 5. Students were then asked to listen to piano and move to appropriate area of the room, based on what they heard. Pitches were further solidified by holding scarves low/high accordingly.
Response: Students were engaged and, for the most part, accurate. A bit of aQenIon was paid to 1 and 5 first, before adding 3 (which was maybe removed??). T was able to add 1 an octave above, and draw aQenIon to the “high” and “low” 1.
Purpose: recognize scale degree, physicalize the difference between the pitches (high/low/ middle).
ACTIVITY: Sing What I Show
T indicated scale degree by holding up finger(s) and asked students to sing appropriate number. T then sang a simple song (unknown to me, but familiar to the class), on numbers, while sIll indicaIng scale degree with fingers.
A few students then had a chance to lead the group (holding up fingers) in a short improvised pattern
Response: Students were asked to use scale degrees 1 and 5. Right away, the second student added 3 as well. Overall, the students seemed very comfortable and demonstrated a solid sense of the scale degrees.
Purpose: scale degree, improvisaIon, leading/ownership
ACTIVITY: Drawing and Playing Shapes
To demonstrate, T drew a shape made up of 4 (I believe) lines, then arranged 4 tone bars in that same shape and played the tone bars according to the drawing. Students then each drew their own shape and shared it with the group. T arranged and played tone bars according to each student’s drawing/direcIons. Students then sang back each paQern, as T indicated with hand movements the pitch direcIon.
Response: Students were very interested, took great care in drawing and explaining their shapes, and sang each other’s patterns successfully.
Purpose: space exploration, improvisation, leading/ownership, pitch