Thursday, June 28, 2012


Yes, I am alive.  I was just at camp for a few weeks.  But I am back, and in the midst of preparing for my last 3 weeks of grad school and the World Choir Games here in Cincinnati I HOPE to post more.

So, last post, so long ago, was about preparing and practicing elements so I figured today I would give a few tips on Presenting an element to your class.

When presenting, students should already know everything there is to know about the element- except the real name.  If it is a note- is it a step, a skip, or a leap away from known notes?  Is it higher or lower than known notes- or in between?  If it is a rhythm, they should be able to identify it in new songs and old songs, and new patterns.

When doing a present lesson- I choose the present song first.  The present song should have the element only once in it (if possible) AND should have no other unknown elements in it.

Start the lesson as you would any other lesson- I always start singing a few songs that will be in the lesson later to give the students brains a preview of mystery songs.

Whatever song I choose next is used again in lesson.  I always use the first song in lesson and read it with the element still unknown, and then as soon as the element is presented we go back to the song.

The rest of the lesson flows pretty normally (obviously there is no pivot song, because the whole lesson is focused on the element being presented).  I try to use manipulatives, board work, inner hearing, etc.

Right before I present, I am sure to do a Final Aural Prep which is basically a "repeat after me" that gets continually harder.  Students start just by repeating directly after me.  I then show them the first solfa note (or tell them what rhythm sound the pattern starts on) using hand-signs and loo the pattern.  Next, I just loo the patterns.  After that- I sing the words of a known song while signing the first solfa note and  finally I just sing the words.   Students are required to sing back on solfa for EVERY LEVEL.

The last pattern always leads to the present song- which I have on the board, but missing the measure that contains the new element.

When actually presenting, I am sure to go over all the things students should know about the element- the name, steps, skips, common patterns, handsign, etc.

We then find the new element in other songs.

See below for a sample RE present lesson.

Next post will be on using popular music in upper-elementary grade classes.  :)

Daily Plan
     Grade: 2
 Number:  25 or so
Known Melodic: d, m, s, l and “new”
Known Rhythmic: q iq z h
Behavioral Objectives: Students are engaged and having fun while learning!
Activity Types: Read_x_ Write_x_  Partwork _x_  Form_x_  Improv __  Move_x_ 
                          Listen_x_ Instruments_x_ solo singing __

Materials: Tuning Fork                                                Song List on Board
                   Closet Key Solfa notation on board 6         Key on string
                   Who’s That Visual w/ solfa cards  
                   Bow wow wow on board – last 2 mm not filled in
                   Closet Key on Staff – some notes missing, some solfa missing
                    My Aunt Came Back book + Words of 1st vs on board with missing solfa
                   Xylo visual for Hot Crossed Buns- Instruments in F pentatonic
                   Sneaky Snake melodic for Hop Old Squirrel
Songs: Closet key, Who’s That? Bow-wow-wow, Hot Crossed Buns, Grandma Grunts,

Procedure: F= do

2 min: Students Sing Following Songs that MAY be used in the Lesson
                        Bow-wow-wow, Hot Crossed Buns, Closet Key, Grandma Grunts, Who’s That

                        Ss. silently read solfa notation on board; ID song
                        Ss. sing song on solfa syllables (use hand signs) 
                        Ss. sing song on words- (use hand signs)  à Students sing to a circle
                        Play Game (usually 2 rounds- for peer teaching just 1)

Transition: Please sing that song back to your seat as I loo another song against you

5 min: WHO’S THAT    
                        Ss. ID song from Ts Loos
                        Ss. sing song
                        T. uses visual and Ss. Loo song à Ss. Sing song on solfa with Hand signs
                        Ss. use solfa cards to put solfa onto visual (tape!)
                        Part work as visual shows
                                    T. holds “that” first
                                    Then Split class
Transition: First solfa Pattern comes from Whose That 

7 min: BOW-WOW-WOW
            FAP-             A) T. sings/ signs 4 beat melodic pattern à students echo
                                    (dd-mm-r-d) (m-r-d-r)
                                   B) T. signs first solfa note, then loos pattern à Ss. Echo à sign/sing solfa
                                    (d-r-m-d)   (m-m-r-m)
                         C) T loos melody without showing first note à Ss. Echo à Ss. Sign/sing solfa
                                    (ss-l-s-m-r)  (s-l-s-m-r-d)
                        D) T signs first solfa note, then sings words à Ss. Echo à Ss. Loo à Ss. Sign/sing solfa
                                    (m   r r r r d m d) –blue bird     (d-d-mm-d-m-r-d) – Grandma Grunts
                        E) T sings words à Ss. Echo à Ss. Loo à Ss. Sign/ sing solfa
                                    (d-d-m-m-r-m)- Closet Key   (mm- rr- d) – Rain is falling down

Transition: The last pattern sung from Rain… is VERY similar to the end of the song on board.  Can you figure out what it is?
            Present- Have song on board (F = d) [Diagram A]. 
                        A) Ss read/ sign/ sing solfa of phrases 1-3 and identify the song. 
                        B) Ss. Determine and write text of last phrase under staff [Diagram B-1]. 
                        C) Ss. re-sing last 2 phrase -resing solfa for ph 3 – loo on ph. 4 à Sing both on solfa                                                 determine solfa and mark in dashes above text [Diagram B-2].                         
                        D)Place solfa notes onto staff [Diagram C].
                        E) Review qualities of “?” – Step v than mi, step ^ than do (btw mi and do).  Hand Staff Ch.
                        F)Present “?” = re [Diagram D] and show correct handsign (w/ ss have already been doing).                         G)Ss Sign/ Sing the staff notation with solfa. 
                        H)Ss Sing lyrics and sign solfa. 
                        I) Play the Game!           

Transition: Please sing BOW WOW WOW back to your seats as I loo another song.

4 min: CLOSET KEY  
                        We just discov. re in Bow-wow-wow.  Let’s prac. it more by figuring out the next song!
                        T. Loos patterns on board à Students echo  (dd-mm-r-m) (dd-mm-dd-m) (dd-mm-r-d) 
                        T. loos melody by phrase à Class echos then sings back melody with solfa
                                    Put melody cards in order
                        I have put some of this song on the staff already- Can you fill in the missing solfa/ notation?
                                                (diff students do diff mm)
                        MEMORY GAME:
                                    Ss. Discover form of song [A B A Bv]. 
                                    T. Erases mm. and students sing solfa from memory.

8 min: MY AUNT CAME BACK (book/ new song)
                        T. Sings story
                        Ss. Figure out Solfa Phrase by Phrase  (T gives Toneset) (fill in missing)
                        Ss. sing on solfa
                        T. Sings story again- this time adding motions J

5 min: S-L-M  (up to 5 pts) (USE RE A LOT)

Transition: Echo sing to groups (T. Sings Hot Crossed Buns on Solfa then ANN)


                        S. figure out from echo singing
                        Add B Section Yummy Yummy Hot Crossed Buns
                        Ss. sing song to lines of 4 students each behind pre set instruments
                        Ss. Sing and play along with the song (instruments pentatonic – find m-r-d on chart)
                                    Rotate during spoken B Section
We have another RE song about one of my family members?  We have already sang it earlier in the lesson- can someone tell me what song they think it might be?

Transition: Now that we know where m-r-d are on the instrument let’s play a few more patterns

4 min: Students play 2 patterns each then rotate (end with Grandma Grunts dd mmd m r d)

                        Our last pattern was from one of our songs! It’s one about one of my family members… but NOT my aunt…
                        Do partwork with Grandma Grunts – in canon  sing on words w/ handsigns
                        Change it up- T. loos hop old squirrel against G. Grunts

                        Sneaky Snake
                        Play Nut Game (3 at a time, ALL GO TODAY)– after turn Ss. line up at door, but still sing!

1 min: Hop Old Squirrell as they go to the door


Thursday, June 7, 2012

PPP- Prepare/ Practice

Within the Kodaly Philosophy there is an order of teaching- Prepare, Present, Practice (or PPP).  Each is Very important to a child learning a new melodic or rhythmic concept.  We make sheets called "PPP sheets" which, using 5 songs, take us through the process of each of these three stages of learning.  This can be applied to any concept- music or not.   Obviously, a teacher will use more than 5 songs to prepare a song, but these sheets are great starting points for ideas :)

When preparing (and practicing) a concept a teacher needs to use Physical, Visual, and Aural activities to ensure that all types of learners are involved and getting it.   The trick for prep is that it is never named in the prep stage.  Student may call a new note High (as in high do or la) or low (as in do, low la, or low so) or even new (for those in-between notes like re, fa, and ti).  The same goes with rhythms- starting with long and short, or finding words that have the same amount of syllables (such as al-li-gat-or for tika tika or blueberry for ti-tika).  Students learn to discover the note and how it fits into their already made schemas.  Is the rhythm more sounds for 1 beat, or more than 1 beat to one sound?  Is the note a step, skip, or leap away from notes already known?

 I prep until about 90% of my students are ready to move on.  This comes quicker for rhythmic concepts.  I try to present at least 2 new rhythmic elements and 2 new melodic elements a year- along with other musical terms like up beat, 1st and 2nd endings, tempo markings, dynamics, etc.

Once the concept is presented all activities can be the same- the melodic or rhythmic concept is now just named!  

I typically split a prep/ practice lesson into one rhythmic concept and one melodic unless they are really close to presentation for one or the other.  Always have a pivot song that has both the R and M concept in it so that your lessons flows smoothly from one to the other.  An example lesson is posted below :) 

Ways that I prep concepts physically include: 

Hand signs (point up or down for the high or low note)
Ghost notes- showing the melodic contour in the air
Hand Staff- fingers are the lines :)
Body Staff- So is shoulders, waist is mi, do is knees, etc. 
Solfa Ladder- students must point on individual ladders for this to be physical

Doing body percussion- a different movement on each type of rhythm (clap on ta, snap on ti-ti, stomp on tika tika, etc) 
Stepping ONLY on the new type of rhythm
Moving on all BUT the new type of rhythm 

Ways I prep concepts Visually include:

Magnets on a staff (late prep)
Line Graph (map out the contour of the song) 
Flash cards (with arrows or question marks where the new note is) 
Word cards- students move them to match the contour of the song
Solfa Ladder- teacher or one student points 

Replace the rhythm with either dots (to show short sounds) or lines (to show longs sounds) 
Flash Cards
        Plain Old Flashcards
        Missing Rhythms on board
        Putting a song in order 
Word Cards- students listen and put words or syllables into Big Heart Beats
Manipulatives (popsicle sticks, bingo chips, etc) 

When I prep concepts Aurally I do things such as: 

T sings two patterns- one with the concept, and one without- students ID 
T sings pattern or song- Students ID new melody or rhythm with a pre-desigated motion
T sings on loo- students echo, then sing or say using solfa or rhythm syllables
Students move word cards/ magnets to show contour of a song
T sings and students place word cards/ magnets into large beat hearts
Students sing all the words of a song EXCEPT the new concept 
T (or SMARTboard) plays and example- students match it to one of three or four choices
           Worksheet with same idea
S-L-M or poison patter
           Game of Teacher vs. Class- T identifies a poison pattern (with new element in it) that students have to listen for and NOT repeat.

Example Prep and Practice lesson- 3rd Grade, Prep High Do' and Practice Tika Tika

   Grade: 3
 Number: 9
Focus: practice tika tika, prep do’
Behavioral Objectives: Students are engaged and having fun!
Activity Types: Read_x_ Write__  Partwork_x_  Form_x_  Improv _x_  Move_x_ 
                          Listen__ Instruments__ solo singing _x_

Materials: Math Clock Manipulative    Jazz Pizz GP chart
                  Flash Cards 


2 min            SING SONGS in LESSON (chicken, tideo, tick-tock)

4 min            Sung Greeting dddd dd mr m s

8 min            Chicken on a Fence Post
                        Sing song- Students ID from greeting
                        Students come up with excuses – same rhythm! Tricky!
                        Play Game

3 min            Tika-Tika jjjq Flashcards  or SMARTboard what rhythm do you hear?
                        Go through a few flashcards
                        End with pattern on board for Jazz Pizzicato
15 min            Jazz Pizzicato
                        Read C rhythm from board – Tika Tika!
                        Listen and Dance as In Game Plan Grade 3 (movements for A B and C sections)
                         Discuss CODA

10 min            Tideo- Pivot
                        Make C part of Jazz Pizz an ostinato as T sings new song  and students move back to seats
                        Figure out song, sing on Solfa
                        Play Remote Game- word, solfa, and off channels
6 min            S-L-M
                        Play a round of s-l-m to practice HIGH do

5 min            Eyes of Blue (from Kodaly Context pg 247)
                        Sing song
                        Teach by rote
                        Look for do’

What are some other songs we have with HIGH in them?  Sing all mentioned- lead to Tick Tock!

3 min            TICK TOCK
                        Sing song – point out HIGH notes
                        A few clock times- have a math clock manipulative 

Any other ways you prepare or practice a concept? 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tuesday Book Club - Can You Hear It?

Todays post highlights the book Can You Hear It from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This book starts with a note to parents and teachers, then moves into an introduction of musical instruments and finally gets to the 26 classical music selections.

Each selection of music is accompanied by an art picture and things to listen for in the song.  For example: The Flight of the Bumblebee page asks: Can you hear the bee flying from flower to flower- the violins and the flute play it.  It then asks a few other questions that help paint a mental picture of the music being played.

The book comes with a CD of all 13 songs. 

I have never yet used this book in my classroom, but I see it as a great introduction to many classical pieces that helps us to springboard to learning about the composer, breaking down the rhythm or melody (if appropriate) or moving to music.  I plan on using it in 1st and 2nd grade next year!  The kids love I SPY so why not use a book where they hear instead of see??  We could even expand to play with other songs not included in the book.

Songs included are:
The Flight of the Bumblebee by Rimsky-Korsakov
The Four Seasons:Winter (allegro) by Vivaldi
An American in Paris by Gershwin
The Carnival of the Animals: The Aquarium by Saint-Saens
Romeo and Juliet: Dance of the Knights by Prokofiev
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy by Tchaikovsky
The Four Seasons: Spring (allegro) by Vivaldi
The Carnival of the Animals: Fossils by Saint-Saens
Comic Duet for Two Cats by Rossini
The Carnival of the Animals: The Elephant by Saint-Saens
Billy the Kid: Gun Battle by Copland
The Four Seasons: Summer (Presto) by Vivaldi
The Carnival of the Animals: Finale by Saint-Saens