Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summertime, and the livin' is easy....(well, easier.)

It's the last couple of days of the school year and the lazy days of summer are almost here. The last day of music classes for my students include re-visiting favorite songs and games from the year. The final minutes of music class I like to read one last book before we all dive into summer break.

The book Summertime by George and Ira Gershwin, DuBose Heyward,  Dorothy Heyward, Mike Wimmer is a beautiful book worthy of those last minutes of class. The text is from the Porgy and Bess lullaby Summertime and the illustrations show the blissful summer days of an african-american family.

One could sing this song to the children while reading but I prefer to play the beautiful rich recording of Summertime by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. Everyone should hear this recording, it's simply perfect.

I hope your Summertime is rich and rejuvenating!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Let's Move!

It's May! With the end of the school year quickly approaching,  I've noticed a restlessness school. The weather is consistently pleasant. 
The students want to be outside more often and are anxious to move around! 
Rather than fight it, I'm taking classes outside and we're singing, moving, and dancing.

Down the River is a favorite folk dance that my 4th graders have enjoyed. I learned this version of the song and dance from Marilyn Sousa at the Western Division OAKE Regional conference in 2010.

Formation: Long-ways set . (Double line of partners, facing each other)
A:   1-4   Lines move forward with 3 steps, bowing/curtseying on beat 4. (on the word "deep.")
       5-8   Lines move backward with 4 steps. (Dancers are back to starting place on "strong.")
A:   1-8   Repeat A above. (Bow/Curtsey on "time." Back to starting place on "along.)

B:    9-16 Foot couple at the bottom of set join hands and sashay up to the top. 
                 (start sashay on "down.")
               Simultaneously, all other couples take 1 step toward the bottom of the set. 
               Each succeeding foot couple sashays to the top on the word "down," 
                 for the remainder of the refrain. 
                 In each refrain, 6 couples will sahsay up the set.
                 *When I introduce this dance, I initially have only 2 couples sashay up during
                 the refrain, (on the first and 4th "Down the river.")

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Music Class: Keyboard Rules

This week I'm beginning piano keyboards with 5th and 6th graders. Ever year we take the first few minutes of class discussing the "dos and don'ts" of how to treat the instruments. This time of year can be challenging when trying to maintain student attention. I wanted to change things up and see if I could communicate more effectively by doing something unexpected. At the suggestion of my colleague Holly, via her blog, I made a xtranormal video to use in the classroom. (You can read Holly's music ed blog here.)This short clip reviews a few basic rules during my keyboard unit.