The 5th graders are off to a running start in the music room! We have started this year with some review, but it didn’t take long to get ¨caught¨ up, and they quickly showed me they were ready for more.
We reviewed our mallet and barred instrument technique with a poem in AB form called ¨Out Goes the Rat¨. The poem alternated between speaking the words, and improvising the rhythm of the words on the instruments.
The grade song they have started with is Viva La Musica, which we have used to sing in a round and learn a new rhythm this year.
The rhythm that was preseented to them and we have since been practicing, is a dotted quarter note. They understand that a dot adds length to the note, making a half note (2 beats) into a dotted half note (3 beats), and a quarter note (1 beat) into a dotted quarter note (1.5 beats). We have incorporated this rhythm into a variety of activities . They put the rhythm in their bodies with a movement song titled, ¨Good Afternoon¨, a circle dance called ¨John Kanakanaka¨, and with an activity using the theme from the ¨Pink Panther¨.
With the Pink Panther, students first learned a rhythm to accompany the song using body percussion. It fits with the theme perfectly using the form ABCA. The next week, we transferred it from body percussion to movement around the room with partners. The students even got to create their own rhythm for section C’s rhythm. It was fun to witness the creativity and unique ideas from each set of partners. You can ask your child to perform the rhythm from the Pink Panther Theme for you with the music (you can find it here) , using body percussion, and then ask them to show you what movement they created with their partner for section C.
Additionally, we have labeled two new terms related to pitch – ¨Half Step¨ and ¨Whole Step.¨ This helps students understand the relationship between pitches, and they now know that there are two half steps in our diatonic scale, between mi and fa, and ti and do. No matter where Do is, this is always the same. This prepares students to understand things like Key Signatures and Chords, which we will not cover in music class, but any student who continues to study music beyond 5th grade will.
As you can see, we have already introduced a few new concepts, taking the 5th graders to a new level of musicianship! They will continue practice these concepts all throughout the year to develop a deep understanding of them.