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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Yr6_The Weekly Class Challenge

Year 6
Autumn Term – Week 6
The Class Challenge

The group enter the room looking less than wholly enthusiastic (!) They settle down with an almost perfect split down the middle of the room between the boys and the girls. This is quite normal and it begins around Year 2 (aged 6/7 years old) which I think is remarkably early. I ask them if they have done that week’s Class Challenge*. They have done it! I say ‘Off you go’ and the whole class claps a 16 beat rhythm, that they’ve invented and memorised druing the week, while saying the rhythm names.

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Yr3_Learning a new pitch name!

Year 3
Autumn Week 5
Learning a new pitch-name!
The children pile into the room at 2.30 carrying their book bags and coats ready for home time. They all look like they are ready to go home themselves. Every teacher knows that the morning sessions are always more settled and that the ability to concentrate on adult-directed activities drifts away as the day progresses. This particular class find it hard to engage with a directed activity at any time of day.

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Yr5_Reinforce the Learning

Year 5
Reinforce the Learning
This week the lesson takes place in the regular classroom of this class because the Music Room is being used for some P4C training I kick off the lesson by reminding the class of their ‘Class Challenge’. I always give a small challenge to each class to practise something ready for the next lesson. Ideally they will have perfected it. I always keep a record of the classes that have done it or failed to do it.

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