Monthly Music Madness!
Hello everyone! Welcome to October’s Monthly Music Madness newsletter. We have accomplished a lot this month including 4th through 8th grade’s first music test, learning about different musical cultures from Europe and we have begun practicing music for the Christmas Pageant!
Week 1: October 5th – 9th
This week was the first time 4th through 8th grade had a test in music class. Students listened to a variety of music examples and identified the presence of a steady beat and type of meter. The test also consisted of fill-in-the-blank, matching, and short answer questions all relating to meter, time signature, and dynamics. I am so proud of all of my students for completing their first test. They all did a splendid job!
While the older grades took their test, Kindergarten through 3rd grade practiced maintaining a steady beat with a game called “Apple Tree”. Students sat in a circle and practiced passing around a bean bag in a steady rhythm. Once students could maintain a steady beat they learned the “Apple Tree” song and played a variation of “Duck-duck-goose.”
Week 2: October 12th – 16th
During IOWA testing, all students learned about music around the world, specifically focusing on Europe. There are a lot of different genres of European music. This week we focused on Fado, Klezmer, and Irish Music.
Since the 19th century, Fado is the most characteristic genre of popular song of Portugal, especially in Lisbon, though it is cultivated in other cities and in the country as well. Klezmer is the primary instrumental music used to accompany Jewish celebrations and rites of passage. In Ireland, the majority of Irish folk music consists of songs and dances, with a small number of independent instrumental pieces. The greatest part of the Irish folk repertory today consists of dances which are still used including the jig, the reel, and the hornpipe. Fun Fact, I, Ms. Latham, used to be a competitive Irish step dancer, and at the end of class I taught students an Irish step dance called the “Single Jig”.
Week 3: October 19th – 23rd
Students in Kindergarten through 8th grade learned about the Staff this week. Music is written and notated with a common device called the staff, which is composed of five lines and four spaces. In order to determine the types of pitches used on the staff musicians use a device called the Clef. The two types of clef commonly used are the Treble clef that handles the higher sounding notes and the Bass clef that handles the lower sounding notes. For each clef there is a specific sequence of letters for the lines and spaces of the Staff. To remember these letters students learned a series of sentences, such as “Every Good Boy Does Fine”, “All Cows Eat Grass”, and “Great Big Dogs Fight Alligators.” After the lecture, students played a game called “Music Staff Twister”. Instead of the usual game of twister using colored circles, students played Twister using a music staff that Ms. Latham set up in the classroom with tape.
Week 4: October 26th – 30th
Two weeks ago, grades 4th through 8th were given an opportunity to do test corrections and raise their test grade. Because the next test in music class will be cumulative and it is important for students to know the material from the first test in order to move forward in music class, students in 4th through 8th grade played a game called “Family Feud”. Students in each class were divided in to two teams. Each team sent one player up to answer a question and the quickest to respond with the correct answer won. Not only did the game questions cover material from test 1, but students also answered questions over European musical genres, music notation and the staff.
While the older grades played and reviewed, the younger grades learned about music notation and practiced how to write music notes, such as the quarter note, half note, and whole note. Some of the younger grades also got to play music notation bingo, where they practiced identifying music notes while they played.
Before concluding October’s Monthly Update, once a month the students learn about a composer. This month’s composer is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart!
Mozart composed prolifically from the age of six until his premature death at thirty-five. By the age of three, Mozart had learned to play a clavier, which was an old-fashioned stringed instrument that had a keyboard. By the age of five, he was playing the harpsichord and violin as well as a professional. He was playing in front of royalty when he was just six years old. A master of every medium, he is widely considered one of the greatest musicians of the western classical tradition. His mature works epitomize the classical style.
Thus concludes October’s Monthly Music Madness!