Children · Dalcroze · Teaching

7-9 Year-old Dalcroze: 12/6/16

  • Back Telephone
    • The traditional game of telephone (whisper a phrase around the circle and see if it comes back the same) only with rhythms gently tapped on the back. We tried 2 rhythms and both came back perfectly. I used the second rhythm to introduce the 4 sixteenth note rhythm (known at Lucy Moses as ‘boo-mah-chi-kah’).
  • Start/stop when you hear 4 sixteenth notes.
    • A review of an inhibition-style quick reaction game meant to warm the group up for starting and stopping.
  • Leading and Following
    • This was done under the guise of a group of elephants finding their way through the streets of NYC to their jobs at the Big Apple Circuse. The lead elephant sings out to the others, who answer her back (call and response), after which she leads the group in her own tempo and with her own phrasing (stopping for red lights, etc.). I intended this as a quick opportunity to practice leading and following before we moved on to a series of ‘tricks’ that elephants would do as part of their act. We ended up spending almost the entire period on it. Many of the kids were inhibited to sing alone or even make vocal sounds to the group. At this stage of their development many are newly aware of a ‘right’ and a ‘wrong’ way to do things. Some are aware of the system of solfege singing and attempted to use syllables, which they are not yet adept at using. This same phenomenon was evident in their movement choices as leaders (many leaders needed coaching to prevent them from following the end of the line). Both of these things – singing whatever comes to mind and freely leading a group – might have come more easily to them in the past, but these types of temporary ‘regressions’ are, in my experience, quite normal. In any case, the kids stayed interested in this simple activity, and by the time everyone had gotten a turn, the period was almost over! I played music to match their movements. These are not music theory subjects I had intended to get to (hearing 1 and 5, ascending and descending scales, twice as fast and twice as slow) but they are undoubtedly musical behaviors (knowing how to lead and follow are essential in all kinds of ensemble music making), and I am happy to take the time to explore them if that’s what the kids need at the moment.
  • If You Dance
    • The round from previous weeks. The one ‘trick’ we worked on was stepping the rhythm of this tune, which uses quarters, halfs and eighths. I’ll keep returning to this round (and others) with the goal of being able to move them in ways that reflect the melodic and rhythmic shape of the song. Hopefully we will be able to sing it in a round one day, too.

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