Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lesson 7 notes

We're doing great in class with TWO melodic patterns now (mi re do, and sol sol do). Both are important examples of cadence melodies that pull us back to DO. That's why these patterns make great endings to songs! Songs sound “right” when they end on DO!

We didn't use the bells much in class this week, but there are some fun things you can do at home:

1. Play sol-do on the BOOM-BOOM (ain't it great to be crazy). Sing in the key of bells RED-GREEN (lower case sol do).

2. Play sol-sol-do-do as you say hell-o your-name in the hickety pickety bumblebee song. (Do is on F…we’re singing in F). If you want to play the WHOLE song, play hickety-pickety using the high sol (RED BELL) and mi (dark blue) to be in the key of F.

3. YOU can play the song Scotland's Burning for your child on the bells! Soon she will play it too... the hand signs will give you clues as to what notes to play... just remember to play using the lowercase letters, in the key of F. The high SOL! SOL! SOL! SOL! of FIRE! is on the highest red bell.

Thought for the day from another "Let's Play Music" teacher:

" I noticed the other day that my daughter hadn't played with her doll house for a long time. Gosh, doesn't she like those toys anymore? I decided to get down on the floor with her and pull them out, and started having doll people talk to each other. Not surprisingly, once she saw I was having fun and being silly, she was happy to join in and wanted to play, too. If it turns out that your child is not so inclined to play on the bells or sing the songs from class, maybe a similar approach will be helpful. Play the bells yourself, sing along to the CD in the car, or instigate a game from class with ALL the family members. Hopefully as she sees YOU modeling having fun with music, she'll gravitate to you and decide to give it a try. Be sure to applaud every effort and allow some time for creative exploration, too!"

As always, let me know if you have any questions or concerns. I'll see your students on Thursday!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lesson 6 - Homework Help!


For the theory assignment this week, you’ll need to know some songs that we haven’t used in class! Don’t worry if you don’t know these songs, you can check out these websites that have tunes and lyrics to these and additional songs.

I enjoy playing with any of the above sites to listen to random songs and ask, "Does it end with a Mi Re Do? Does it have a Sol-Sol-Do?" As we learn more and more patterns, you're child will start to recognize and catch on to more and more of the common melodies used in music. Listening to kids’ music while driving in the car will never be boring again!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Lesson 5

***Please check your email for an updated schedule, as I had to make some changes***

The primary chords song and the chords in pieces that we worked on will be an important part of our curriculum from now on. These 3 chords make up 90% of the music we listen to. Developing an ear for the chords will enable your child to understand and compose accompaniments…you’ll see them do so next year! Let me know if you have any questions about how the children can use the chord map to practice pointing to the chord color as they listen to the music on the CD. Help them point on the beat, as if they were strumming the autoharp.

The practice of singing “Do is home” to match a Middle C will also be practiced from now on, so the students can develop relative pitch (the ability to pull a correct pitch from think air!). Parents…YOU can improve your relative pitch, too, with practice. Don’t feel bad if your child learns it more quickly! This is the only exercise in which DO is always assigned Middle C. You know by now that we can build a major scale starting with DO on a C, or F….or any note! Eventually your child will use this knowledge to transpose between keys effortlessly.

The kids had a great time with Ooooo Halloween. This song isn't just for fun, and the ghost sounds we made weren't just nonsense. What we were doing is called "vocal channeling." We are extending their ranges (which is helpful with matching pitch) and using a pure head tone. The "oo" vowel is the best vowel for placing the tone up in the head and forward in the nose and "mask" of the face. Basically, it is a good beginning "voice lesson." It works for adults, too! :-)

Lesson 4 Notes


In class, everyone did such a great job with mi-re-do, that we've modified the song "Hickety Pickety Bumblebee" to end with mi-re-do-do to say hel-lo Tren-ton. It's fun to find out who has a name with more syllables, so you play the red DO bell more times. Why not play with everyone in your family and use first and middle names?

The barnyard song continues to be a big hit. If your child still has trouble getting her HANDS to match to her VOICE (this is common in the beginning), try holding onto her hands and guiding her to clap as she says the rhythm of the animals. If you have some barnyard animal toys at home (or maybe real animals!?), have them talk to each other in these great rhythms!

We practiced again singing the ostinato (repeating part: ding dong) against the melody (the words) in "Hear how the bells". Learn both parts well, and one day when you and your child are waiting in line, you can suggest, "Hey! Why don't YOU sing the ostinato and I'll sing the melody!" and you will sound great together. We'll do it in class next week so you can see just what I mean.