7-9 Year-olds: 11/2/16

We had a long break (4 weeks) after only a few classes. It was as if we had just seen each other last week, though. Here’s what we did:

  • Warm-up: A group of children stand throughout the room. They cannot move unless they have the magic ball. The ball only retains its power if it keeps moving and, like any gift, is given away.
    • We start with one ball. The children each get to see different ways of moving, and eagerly await their turn. I soon add more balls. Some find it difficult to stand still when there is lots of activity around them. They must practice inhibiting their natural impulse. This game seemed to be a hit.
  • Meter (groupings of 2, 3 and 4 beats)
    • Students seated. Practice hearing and responding (patch and clap) to different meters played on the drum. First I call the changes (this is called a Quick Reaction game), next I just play and they show me what they year.
      • The students demonstrated mastery pretty quickly.
    • Students move in the room. Association game: If you hear music with no meter, move alone; music in 2 means move with a partner in space; music in 3 means move with a partner in place; music in 4 means move all together.
      • There were a lot of directions to this game. Some were able to discern the various meters (I was at the piano); some were able to remember the directions; and some were able to do both. I would reduce the number of responses next time.
    • Hearing 4 sixteenth notes
      • To the above game, I added a start/stop game, which I framed as a story (some were requesting a story): A magic fairy flies through the town waving her magic wand whenever she feels like. She has no idea of the effect, though. Everytime she waves it, the entire city freezes. When she waves it again, everyone is again able to move. The sound of her wand is 4 sixteenth notes.
        • I was able to make fairly sophisticated melodies, and, over time, did not have to emphasize the 4 sixteenth notes as much. The story puts many of them directly into the work.
      • Bim Bom
        • I introduced this song, which is in 2 and features 4 sixteenth notes frequently. I’ll return to it next week. We sat in a group and they wiggled their fingers whenever they heard the 16th note rhythm.
      • Review of beat, division and multiple in binary meters (this simply means quarter, eighth and half note)
        • I modeled each rhythm, and handed out percussion instruments, asking each student to keep the rhythm going. I brought out note cards with the notation symbol on it. As we layered up the sounds, it began to remind me of a clock, so I began to sing a French round called La Cloche (a round which I discovered I did not know as well as I had hoped – I have to practice it for next time!).
          • All of the students seem well able to maintain a steady rhythm, but find it hard to synchronize with the group. This is natural, and something I will work to address in future classes. We traded instruments and tried to build up the ensemble a second time. Eventually, I just encouraged everyone to play freely. It seemed to me most were listening to the other instruments as they played. I like to work with ensembles of different instruments (as opposed to all playing sticks, for example) to encourage this kind of listening while improvising.
        • The Human Scale
          • The students remembered this game from a month ago, and requested to play it. Our time was almost up, but we got into formation (there are 8 students – perfect!). The range was a little high (I’ll fix that for next time), but I am surprised that many can hear and reproduce their note (especially hard in some positions). I dictated the round to them with numbers, but we did not have enough time to really execute this well. As they left, I reminded them of the other round we did the previous class (over a month ago) “If You Dance.” Many seemed to remember it.








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