Dalcroze: 7-9-Year-olds, 2/14/17

Here’s what we did:

  • Statue tag
    • All students make a statue. One moves as long as she likes. When she stops, she makes the shape of one of the statues. That statue is free to move.
      • This game is more fun when whoever is making someone else’s shape does not make their shape directly in front of the other person. This forces both the mover to be very clear, and the entire to class to watch the mover. Improvised music follows the mover.
    • Move to the music; when you hear one measure of eighth notes, stop for one measure.
      • This is a quick reaction calling for an inhibition. It’s challenging because the listener has to pay attention to the melody while moving (always a challenge for this age), and rest for exactly 4 beats. Most everyone needed verbal cues and pretty clear signals from the piano to achieve this. We will continue to work to strengthen the internal rhythmic feeling necessary to do this well.
    • What can you do with one stick and a special friend (who also has one stick).
      • A chance to exercise the imagination and work with a partner. Many creative responses.
    • Partner A holds out stick for 8 beats; B plays 8 beats on A’s stick. A moves stick each phrase. Switch.
      • After accompanying them on piano for a while, I began to play “Ah, Poor Bird” from last week. As they recognized it they began to tap it.
    • Spin off
      • The partners move to the music separately. When they hear the first 4 bars of the song, they must find their partner in time to tap the last 4 bars.
        • As the game went along I disguised the music more and more, challenging them to listen closely for the quarter-quarter-half rhythm of the opening. Some were successful, others needed some verbal cues.
      • Explore notation of song.
        • Now that they were thoroughly familiar with the rhythm of the song, it was time to see it translated into notation. As they stretched out on the floor, I asked them to show quarter notes in their legs, half notes in their arms (in retrospect I wish I would have switched these two) and eighth notes in the air with arms. I played through the various durations for a while, and then slipped into the song one last time. Some were able to translate it into their body, but that was hard for others. I sat them up and we put the notation on the board for all to see.
      • Blues
        • We ended by playing call and response phrases (with percussion) over the blues. I used St Louis Blues, a song I hope to come back to over the next few weeks.

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