Posted in 1st and 2nd Grade, Classical Music, Movement Activities, Parachute Activities, Scarves, Steady beat

The Syncopated Clock

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Students in second grade learned the terms legato (smooth and connected), staccato (short and choppy), and learned a new music vocabulary word: slur.  A slur is a symbol that looks like an arch, and tells you to connect your notes and sing (or play) legato.  We sang a song called Legato Staccato, and then we used scarves to show staccato movements and legato movements while listening to The Syncopated Clock composed by Leroy Anderson.  The C part is the most fun- whenever the “alarm” goes off, throw your scarf in the air!

We began with this chart:

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And finished with this one!

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We also discussed the structure of the piece: ABACA with a coda at the end, and the instruments used in the song.

After doing the scarf activity (and of course, folding our scarves during the magical scarf folding music) we made it into a parachute listening activity!

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Posted in 4th and 5th Grade, Christmas Activities, Classical Music, Fourth Grade, Rhythm, Singing, Winter Activities

Sleigh Ride and Cup Rhythms!

Fourth graders are learning about the composer Leroy Anderson, who composed light orchestra pieces such as “The Syncopated Clock” (which we learned about in 2nd grade) and “Sleigh Ride!”  Leroy Anderson grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and many of his songs are still played by The Boston Pops today.  We watched a video of John Williams conducting the Boston Pops playing “Sleigh Ride” and talked about all the instruments we saw and heard.  Then we sang the song!  Fourth graders will be singing “Sleigh Ride” at our school sing-along assembly in a few weeks, so it was good to start practicing now.  After singing the song, fourth graders learned a special rhythm, which we then translated to cups.  We began learning the rhythm on cups.  We will be playing this special rhythm ALONG with “Sleigh Ride” next week!  Here is the routine we will be doing:

 

 

 

Posted in 1st and 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, Autumn Activities, Classical Music, Halloween

Danse Macabre by Mr. Saint Saens

Students in first, second, and third grade have been listening to and learning about Danse Macabre by French composer Camille Saint Saens.   Danse Macabre is French for “Dance of the Dead.”  Perfect for the Halloween season!!  We have learned (or reviewed) that a composer is someone who makes up a song and writes it down using music notes.  We also discuss that music can tell a story, and that many songs have “themes” in them.  Danse Macabre, for us, has a “skeleton theme” and a “ghost theme.”   The ghost theme is smooth and soaring, like a ghost moaning and flying.  The skeleton theme is choppy and bumpy, like a skeleton’s rattling bones!  Sometimes the skeleton theme is even accompanied by a xylophone, to imitate the sound of bones.

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In first and second grade, students listen to the song and place magnet-backed pieces onto a map of the piece as we listen.   In second and third grade, we watch a real orchestra playing the piece.  Third graders learned about the instruments of the orchestra last year, so it was lots of fun to identify the instruments by sound and sight!

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Posted in 1st and 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, Autumn Activities, Classical Music, Halloween

Danse Macabre by Camille Saint Saens

Students in first, second, and third grade have been listening to and learning about Danse Macabre by French composer Camille Saint Saens.   Danse Macabre is French for “Dance of the Dead.”  Perfect for the Halloween season!!  We have learned (or reviewed) that a composer is someone who makes up a song and writes it down using music notes.  We also discuss that music can tell a story, and that many songs have “themes” in them.  Danse Macabre, for us, has a “skeleton theme” and a “ghost theme.”   The ghost theme is smooth and soaring, like a ghost moaning and flying.  The skeleton theme is chopping and bumpy, like a skeleton’s rattling bones!  Sometimes the skeleton theme is even accompanied by a xylophone, to imitate the sound of bones.

ghost skeleton

In first and second grade, students listen to the song and place velcro-backed pieces onto a map of the piece as we listen.  In third grade, students each have their own individual “board game” of the song, and they use a bingo chip to keep track of where we are in the piece as we listen.  In second and third grade, we have watched a real orchestra playing the piece!

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Students in Mrs. Hayne’s second grade class watch a real orchestra play Danse Macabre and do their movements along with the music.

Posted in 4th and 5th Grade, Classical Music, Composing, Fourth Grade, Group Activities, Instrument Activities

Beethoven’s Motive: The Fifth Symphony

In fourth grade, we learned about the life of famous composer Ludwig van Beethoven.  We then listened to the beginning of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and realized Beethoven used the same short rhythmic and melodic pattern throughout most of his piece.  Think (dum dum dum DUMMMMM!)   The pattern is , with a fermata (or hold) over the last eighth note in many cases.  We learned that this repeating pattern is called a motive.  We also noticed the first three eighth notes were usually the same pitch, and the last one usually went  down.  We listened to the first 25 or so seconds of the piece to see how many motives we could count: 14 in all!  Fourth graders then used xylophones to create their own motives.  When they were finished, they got to make their own composer biography, in which they described the motive they came up with.

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Listen to Ryan’s song using his motive here:

 

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Listen to Abby’s song using her motive here:

We all played our songs for each other (a motive isn’t song, their songs had to repeat the motive many times), and then watched this AWESOME graphical score of The Fifth Symphony.  I only intended to play the first minute or so, but they wanted to watch and listen to the entire 7 minutes 38 seconds!!!  See the cool graphical score we watched below.

Posted in 1st and 2nd Grade, Classical Music, Movement Activities, Scarves

More Rondo Form with “Viennese Musical Clock” by Zoltán Kodály

First and second graders have been reinforcing the term “Rondo Form” with another scarf activity and the song Viennese Musical Clock by Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály.

First, we reviewed the term “rondo form” by singing the song “There is a form that we all know and Rondo is it’s name-o!” (to the tune of Bingo of course) and discussing what it means for a song to be “in rondo form.”  Then we listened to Viennese Musical Clock and charted it out:

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Next, I demonstrated the movements for each section: Wave your Flag for the A section, Ring of Fire for the B section, Bug in a Rug for the C section, Crystal Ball for the D section, and Throw in the Air for the coda.  We love this activity!

Wave your Flag

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Ring of Fire (make a big circle in front of yourself)

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Bug in a Rug

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Crystal Ball

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Coda!

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And afterwards, the “scarf folding music.”  As soon as the students hear the special scarf folding music, they know what to do

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