Tuesday, November 19, 2013

XOXO - You'll Love this Holiday Play-Along

Here come the holidays! And here's one my favorite holiday play-along activities for classroom, music room or easy-to-prepare performance. This video has been a favorite with many student groups (and their teachers). In appreciation of my followers and TPT customers, I want to share it here. This activity will help students experience and explore timbre, melody, form, and rhythm ostinatos in a joyful, novel way.

You will need one pair of rhythm sticks and one wrist bell band for each student. I make wrist bells by stringing three jingle bells onto a piece of braided (flat) elastic. These are a great investment and will serve you well for many years.

Have students put the wrist bell band on their dominant wrist -- the one they use to hold their top rhythm stick. Have them play along with the video, reading the iconic notation for the ostinatos. The "X" means to tap their sticks on a beat, and the "O" means to shake their bells (while still holding sticks). 

For younger students, use the macro beat, at a tempo of 82 BPM. For older students or adults, use the micro beat at a tempo of 164.  
Explore and map the form of this delightful composition with your students. Then let them compose new ostinatos using "X' and "O."  Enjoy!
Form: Introduction, A, A (softer w/flute variation), B (mallets), bridge (intro.), A (clarinet), A (louder), bridge (bass clarinet), C (brass), D (bass clarinet, tuba), C (circus-like), bridge, A, A(louder), coda 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Thanksgiving Ideas & Singing Game Freebie

I can hardly believe we're into November! I love autumn time, especially because of Thanksgiving. A couple of weeks ago, I presented a day-long workshop with a bunch of Thanksgiving music ideas, and I want to share a singing game that was a hit.

You can download this singing game and teaching guide in a tidy one-page format FREE from my TPT store by clicking HERE. 
Singing Game Directions
Have students form two concentric circles (one inside the other with 2/5 of the class as the inner ring, and 3/5 as the outer). Model the song for students and ask them to listen carefully. Then ask them some questions about the song and sing the answers. (For example, "What three things does the turkey need to trot through?") Check student understanding of the meanings of "trot" and "dawdle." 

Next, have children listen to and immediately echo each phrase you sing to them. Then combine two phrases, and finally, sing the entire piece. Invite students to hold hands with their neighbors, sing, and step to the beat, with the inner circle moving clockwise while the outer circle moves counter-clockwise. Repeat singing and stepping, and this time, raise and lower held-hands in this pattern: first phrase - low, second phrase - high above heads, third phrase - low, and fourth phrase - high. (This will create openings for the farmer and turkey to move through.)

Select one student to be the 'farmer' and another to be the 'bird.' The bird/turkey will stand in the center of the inside ring, and the farmer will stand outside the outer ring. When singing begins, the farmer will move in after the turkey, while the turkey avoids the farmer and works to get 'free' (outside both circles without getting tagged by the farmer). If the farmer tags the turkey, s/he becomes the new turkey, and the former turkey selects a new farmer and takes his/her place in the circle. If the farmer doesn't tag the turkey, both players will quickly select their replacements and take their places in the circle(s).  

Build Concepts and Skills  
(1) Have students sing the song, omitting the word/note on the fourth beat of each measure. Help them discover/identify the s-s l-l s-m melody pattern which occurs on the first three beats of each measure. Have students sing and sign the pattern four times, resting or clapping on the fourth beat, as you quickly write it on the board (as if taking dictation). Put a question mark for each fourth beat. Guide students in discovering and comparing the phrase endings (so, re, do). (2) Explore/identify the rhythms of “trot” / “gobble.” Create a one-measure rhythm ostinato using these words, and accompany the song with it. Enjoy!

You can download this singing game and teaching guide in a tidy one-page format FREE from my TPT store by clicking HERE. While you're there, you might want to check out these additional Thanksgiving music materials:  

Turkey Tappers - Rhythm Memory Game for Center or Class Activity
Dishing Up Rhythm for Thanksgiving - Text to Rhythm Activities, Two Levels

Turkey-Tac-Toe - Engaging Game and Assessment, Four Different Levels

Thanks for stopping by. Happy Thanksgiving!