Thursday, March 11, 2010

News and Lesson 9 (Blue Bugs)

First of all, I wanted to let you know about a cool new feature on the Let's Play Music Website!

If you write a testimonial about the program, and it is published on the site, you can get $10 off the current month's tuition. Go here for details.

I hope everyone is having a fantastic Spring Break. I gave you tons of new stuff to work on during our last class, so I hope no one is too bored! :-)

I wanted to review some of the parent notes I gave you during class, since I only have a minute to explain things to you then.

B-I-N-G-O: It's an old favorite you've probably sung a million times, but it teaches so many good things: Audiation, Rhythmic Balance, and Beat! It is a great one to do during a road trip or driving around town. Kids think it is just for fun, but it is helping them to develop great skills!

Jungle Rhythm: This is our theory assignment this weeks. Page 47 in the Reference section of your manual should be helpful. You can help your students see the "math" in this chart. What we are doing is called "subdividing." The chart does a nice job of showing that visually and helping your students develop "spatial awareness" which is necessary for their success in math. Play the CD as you look at the chart so they can see and hear the subdivision at the same time.

El Gallo: We ran out of time to do this together in class, but if you can at home, listen/sing "El Gallo" with your students as you point to to the color chord triangles. What we are trying to instill is the repeated pattern "red, red, yellow, red" in this song, which is call its "harmonic rhythm." When they learn the patterns, they will be able to predict which chord will come next.

Drunken Sailor: I wonder if this song has prompted any discussions about what a drunken sailor is, in your homes. :-) It is a well known folk song, and was chosen for its clear form. By doing the dance to the song, we are teaching them the form of the song. For example, the gallop one direction, and then the other, shows the repeated phrase. Turning around on "Early in the...", emphasizes the cadence that takes us to "...morning." Also, joining hands on the beat for "morning" emphasizes the red chord and that we are back, "home." They probably just think we are doing a silly dance. Isn't that great?

One more note this week about your children's progress. I am often blown away by the knowledge they are demonstrating each week and the new things they can do. I know some of you have expressed concern about the level of mastery of your child, and if they will be ready for the 2nd year. Not having taught the program before, I have had some questions, too. But having communicated with the creator of the program, Shelle, and other experienced teachers, the word I am getting is not to be too concerned about mastery of every concept/skill we have presented this year. Some of these things are best learned over time and will sink in. For example, some kids match pitch with Echo Ed, easily. Others really have to concentrate. Just because we are starting on keyboards next year, doesn't mean that we won't continue to work on developing these skills. These things are foundational and will be reviewed through out the program. Greater concerns would be if your child just can't sit still or be part of the group, but at this age a lot of growing-up occurs over the summer. And as they enter school, they tend to gain a lot of maturity. If you'd like to talk about your individual student and where they are at, feel free to email me, or call me.

But for now, back to Spring Break! I will see the kids on Thursday!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Let's Play Music on TV

Shelle (the creator of the program), and Jenny (my trainer) were on TV today. You can get some fun glimpses into what is coming up in future semesters.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lesson 8-- Blue Bugs

During class we looked at the notation for The Dinosaur Song and saw that it was all skips and babysteps. Your child should be ready to color the skips and steps for the homework assignment, and have fun singing as the notes go up.

We also did B-I-N-G-O, for the first time. It is a fun one to help them practice clapping their rhythms. And speaking of rhythms, as you work with your students on their bug flashcards, see if you can get them to clap the appropriate rhythm with out saying the word. Sometimes, the kids say "but-ter-fly," the right way, but clap a steady eighth note rhythm at the same time. While keeping rhythm is a great skill (and one we will practice more with our jungle animals), we want them to feel each rhythm, and not just hear it. You can make it a game: "Can you clap a caterpillar for me with out saying a word?", "How about a grasshopper?", etc.