Week 2 (9/27/16)

The 4:45 group (7-9 year-olds) had their best session yet. Here’s what we did:

  • Explore ways to walk (heels, toes, sideways, large steps, small steps, through molasses, without picking up your feet, etc.)
    • Sometimes at this age, creativity can take a back seat for a while as skill mastery moves to the fore. In this case though, the students were quite actively exploring from many different angles. Music accompanied each soloist’s walk, as did, eventually, the entire group.
  • Quick Reaction: Students walk; at the command ‘hop’, execute one skip.
    • The music for the skip is a dotted eighth and sixteenth. The quick reaction exercise requires close listening to perform well. The changes in the music hopefully are a good balance of expectation and surprise.
  • Register follow: if you hear high notes, move your hands; low notes move your feet.
    • I played quarters, eighths and half notes. The students became pretty adept at switching in unexpected places. We began to combine two different rhythms in feet and hands, known as a ‘dissociation’.
  • Song: If You Dance
    • This is a round which we will return to. It contains quarters, eighths and half notes. We practiced stepping the rhythm of the song. By the end of the practice, the class was able to sing the round (without me ever explicitly teaching the song).
  • Human Scale
    • Students are arranged in a row, and assigned a particular note of the scale (1-8). Conductor (me or a student) points to a student, and he or she sings their note. The kids got pretty good at this. They were able to sing up and down with their individual notes, and could match pitch with the piano if the conductor called for larger leaps. Towards the end of the exercise, the conductors became smarter about their melody making, facilitating greater accuracy in their human ‘instrument’.

Because of the way the Jewish Holidays fall in the month of October, there are no classes now until November. Enjoy the month!

Michael

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