Dynamics: Calm and Lively!
This lesson is the first session of the year with this class. Most of the children were in the Nursery last year but not all. It’s supposed to be a thirty-minute session but it might last less than that. I just want to keep it light and fun. If the children leave the session smiling and they’ve moved around to the songs and listened to some songs and joined in a bit too then I’ll be happy.
There’s a poster at my son’s Colourstrings class that says a music lesson should have something for the mind, something for the eye, something for the ear and something for the heart. It’s probably true for all lessons.
We start by walking around the room in a circle singing ‘Let’s All Go Clapping’. It’s a happy song with a bouncy ‘dotted’ rhythm. It changes from ‘clapping’ to ‘walking’ and ‘skipping’ and so on. The children make suggestions. We all sit down and I sing to the class ‘Hello Everyone’. The class echo this, very few do so at the same pitch as me. Quite a few don’t sing at all. I show ‘Rosa’ to the class (a pop-up cloth doll who pops up out of a little cone on a stick). Someone who was in the Nursery last year says ‘It’s Rosa!’. Every single pair of eyes is on Rosa. I sing ‘Hello Rosa’. The class echo this. I encourage some individuals to sing to Rosa on their own. It’s the first music lesson in Reception and there is already some solo singing.
I ask them ‘Have You Brought Your Talking Voices?’ They reply ‘Yes we have, yes we have’. I switch it to loud voices, whispering voices, squeaky voices and so on. They enjoy the silly voices. It’s a way to begin exploring the sounds that our voices can make. I would have been better off doing this before singing Hello. We stand up and remind them of a simple song from last year. It only has two notes (a minor third apart) but it involves touching different parts of the body every two beats. It’s active and it involves a feat of memory to recall it all. Now we’re making music!
The next part of the lesson involves walking around the class on a sort of ‘adventure’. We look up at the swallows in the sky (a picture that I hold up). We sing “Way up high, swallows fly, diving, racing, sunbeams chasing, way up high”. It’s a ‘Colourstrings’ song. The active part involves walking and pointing and singing except for the ‘diving, racing’ bit where everyone can do just that! It’s another two note song (this time only a tone apart). I like it because the actions contrast: calm and lively. We walk on round the class singing ‘Down the Road’. We end up in the playground and have some fun pretending to play on the swings, slide etc. of course we sing See-Saw rocking back and forth to the beat with our arms out like a see-saw.
We settle back to sitting down and I ask them what day of the week it is? This leads into a simple days of the week song (again, only two notes, this time a perfect fifth apart). The beauty of this song is that one line is ‘Friday, Saturday ding, ding ding’ with an action of ringing a bell. If I spot a child doing this in time to the beat then that child can come to the front and play a little bell. The clapper of the bell is on a spring so it doesn’t just flop around; a child doing a ‘ring, ring, ring’ action always produces a nice clear tone on the three beats (in tune with the song on D). Nice!
We finish with ‘See the Little Bunnies Sleeping’. I learned this song from my sister who learned it at a community centre children’s group. Again it has the contrast of calm and lively. The children love it so it’s a good one to end with.