Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lessons 6 & 7

First some news: There is a giveaway going on at the Let's Play Music blog. It is the first giveaway ever! Go check it out!

Here are a few notes from our last couple of classes:

In lesson 6, we had fun singing about El Gallo (the old rooster…he’s dead and won’t be saying cock-a-doodle anymore). It’s interesting to hear how children speaking other languages interpret the sounds that animals make! To learn the words to this song, I recommend you look up the lyrics in your parent manual. Each song is back there. When you come to class, it may be helpful to follow along if you don't know the songs as well as your students do.

We also learned to match the term MAJOR to songs that sound happy and MINOR to those that are sad, tired, or mysterious. Help them remember these terms, and see if they can identify which songs are major and minor as you listen to music.

While singing the Jungle Rhythms, encourage your child to use his voice along with his hand actions. This adds another dimension and will help him to stay on his rhythm. We tried keeping the elephant rhythm while I did the lion. See if you can help your child stay on elephant while listening to all the other animals on the CD. This may take some practice.


When we put each bell on a line (or space) on the giant staff, it helps introduce the idea that each bell (note) has a representative line or space that corresponds with it. Next year each key on the keyboard will have a line or space that corresponds with it...it’s an easy mental transition to make.

Take this idea a few levels forward and you have...the song How to Skip! The music is printed in the parent’s manual for you. Not all students will master this song, but if your child enjoys playing the short melodies, she’ll probably like to work through this one, and she’ll feel so accomplished when she learns to play a REAL song! Most of the melody can be figured out note-by-note (is it a step up or down? A skip up or down?). On those occasions where there is a leap, the solfeg is written below the music to help your child find the right bell.

The Dinosaur Song is one that everyone probably WILL master – and a great example of skips and babysteps. We’ll see it many times in the next few weeks.

If your child finds writing small notes to be challenging in this week’s homework, feel free to help as needed. You can also copy the page or draw 5 quick lines of your own so you can repeat activities like this as many times as you like for practice!

I suggested you use your bug flashcards for a memory/matching game. This is a fun way to reinforce what we are doing in class. btw, I found a set of flashcards at the LDS church around the corner, on Sunday. If you are missing yours, let me know.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lesson 5 - Blue Bugs

Now that we can skip on the staff (line-to-line or space-to-space) AND on the bells (you get to skip OVER one bell) our melody reading is gong to get to be really fun! Pull out your bells sometime and play a skip up or down, and have your child figure out which ONE bell you skipped over. Also, play a skip without her looking, and see if she can tell if it goes up or down!

Aren’t those bugs so musical? Now that we’ve matched the rhythms to the bug pictures, show the note rhythm cards to your child and see if they can guess which bug it is (this is also the homework this week). Clap out the rhythms (be sure she uses her HANDS and VOICE simultaneously.)

It is fun to audiate the puppet show? While listening, quickly turn the music down low, and just SING the part that you know should be playing. After a few moments, turn the sound back up. Being able to hear the melodies in the mind is one of the skills that a person with “musical talent” has mastered. Yes, we can teach our kids to have talent!

In other news, I've put a link to Mikayla's website (where she is selling tote bags), on the top of the sidebar. I'm sure she'd appreciate your support, and her bags are super cute!

Also, some of you had trouble printing the puppets at home, so I will hand them out to the kids this week.

See them on Thursday!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Blue Bugs--What you can do at home

It's exciting to see how far the kids have come in one semester. This semester we are really working on rhythm, and you can really help reinforce this at home. Just simple clapping along to the radio, or dancing to music in the home, can help them feel the beat.

This week we started singing "Bill Grogan's Goat." Help your students feel the four beats (guitar strums on the CD), after each line. Help them practice clapping them as you listen to the CD. They should be able to tell you all about the silly goat and what he did.

We also sang "I've Been to Harlem" this week, both in a major key (happy), and in a minor key (sad). (Listen to the song on the CD, or ask me, if you don't know what I am talking about). As you are listening to the radio or other music, see if they can tell you whether other songs are "happy" or "sad", by the music, not the words. Some minor songs sound "spooky" rather than sad, like our "Halloween" song last semester, so that would be an acceptable response, too.

Ask them to tell you about the jungle animals we talked about, too. This is a really fun way we will teach them to subdivide beats!

One calendar item: I am looking at Tuesday evening, April 27th for the mini-recital. That is about as late as I dare push it, baby wise. Please look at your calendars, and let me know asap, if there are any major conflicts with that date!

I look forward to seeing you all on Thursday!