Yr5_We Are Musicians

The class have hardly sat down and I am clapping the rhythm of ‘Lil’ Liza Jane’. By the end of the song the class is singing along. This particular class are very keen singers. I write a simple rhythm (ta ti-ti ti-ti ta) and ask the class to clap it. I am moving along very quickly at this point and many don’t do it. I ask them to do it again. Once they’ve done it I tell them we are going to clap it as an ostinato. Someone asks “What’s an ostinato?” I repeat the question in mock horror and ask another pupil to answer.

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Yr6_Master of Puppets

This week all the music lessons are based on the ‘Philosophy for Children’ model (P4C). On the website www.philosophy4children.co.uk it is stated that “Philosophy for Children (enquiry based learning) offers a way to open up children’s learning through enquiry and the exploration of ideas. Children learn that their ideas have value, and that the ideas of other children have value too. Through Philosophy for Children they realise that they don’t always have to be right, but they gain the confidence to ask questions and learn through discussion.”

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Yr1_First The Experience Then The Concept

The Year 1 class enter the Music Room and sit down in front of me very quietly. I think about possibly talking to them about something or other just to break the ice. In the end I just hum a simple little two-note melody. They hum it back. I vary it a few times and it works as a little warm-up.
I tell them that I’m going to sing ‘Hello Everyone’ three times. I explain that it might be high pitched, low pitched or in the middle. As I say this I encourage them all to show these different pitches by holding a hand up high or in front of their chest or down near the ground for low pitch. Continue reading “Yr1_First The Experience Then The Concept”

Audio clips from Lessons

Over the last week I have been recording my own music lessons. You can listen to seven recordings here that give a little more insight into the development of musicianship through singing.

All recordings made in January 2017
This is a collection of recordings made during lessons. These are not rehearsed items. Each recording is from a regular weekly music lesson with a class of 30.

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Yr4_Musicianship: knowing what you are playing

The children arrive.

I sing a very simple ‘Hello, how are you?’ to the class and explain that the response is ‘Very well, thank you’ to the same two-note tune. I still do not have a record of all the children who can pitch-match independently so I’ve made a list of a few names. After some whole class responses I ask these individuals to respond. In the end I have a complete record for this class of twenty nine: 17 can pitch-match independently, 5 sing with the correct intervals but below pitch, 2 more or less talk and 5 are too shy to sing solo.

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Yr2_What Am I Doing?

The children enter the Music Room noisily and full of excitement because they’ve just had playtime. I have a good way to tap into this liveliness: a funny call and response rhyme that is always met with smiles and laughter (each line is announced by the teacher and repeated by the class):

“Hey, Hey, Bob Diddly Bob (clap hands four times)

I’m gonna get back to my job (point with thumb over shoulder four times)

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Yr 4_Slow and Steady

Year 4
Autumn Week 10

It’s 9AM and so I start the lesson in a calm way. I just sing ‘Hello Everyone’ (A-F#-DD-D or so-mi-do do-do). They all sing back echoing this tune. I hum the same tune and ask the children to show me the handsigns if they think they can. To my surprise the great majority of the class are confused by this. We’ve been working on our new pitch ‘do’ for quite a few weeks now. Eventually I spot one girl who is showing me the correct handsigns and I invite her to show the class.

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Philosophy for Children & Music

Year 1
Stimulus: ‘Que Viene al Coco’ for two guitars (Paco de Lucia and Raman de Algeciras).

This is a lively Flamenco piece with the added excitement of castanets towards the end.
Talk about different feelings; make a list of ‘feelings’ words (e.g. happy, angry, calm etc); listen to the music; discuss how we felt while listening
Class 1
“I liked it because it was fun! It was real music”…

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Nursery_Fine Motor Skills

Autumn 2016, Week 6
Finger rhymes and fine motor skills

The class walk into the Music Room wide eyed. While at school these children only leave the Nursery itself to eat lunch and to have music lessons. Some look a little wary. I am seated on a chair that is on the opposite side of the room to the door. I sing ‘Come and sit with me’. The children sit down all over the place. I hold up my fingers and stretch them all out straight. Being children quite a few simply copy me. I say the ‘Ten Little Soldiers’ rhyme several times.

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Yr2_The Slentho

Year 2
Autumn Week 7
45 minutes
The Slentho
We start the lesson with the whole class seated on the floor in absolute silence. I gently hum E-G-EE-G. The class hum back and one or two hazard an attempt at singing it with their newly learned pitch names. I remind them of their ‘musical pencils’.
We did quite a lot of work towards the end of Year 1 showing the pitch with pretend ‘musical pencils’.

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