Friday, February 20, 2015

OMEA General Music Overview- Part 1

Wow, what a cold day!  I have not been at school all week! We had Presidents' Day off, then 2 snow days, and now were on the 2nd "cold" day with temps in the negatives and wind chills around -25 (at least they were this morning).

Since I am at home today, I figured it was time to recap my Ohio Music Education Association Conference workshops.  This will just be an overview of the many workshops I attended with a few ideas I got, some encouraging quotes, and links to the presenters publications if they have them. Overall it was a great conference and I was really happy I went, even though it was super cold and snowy in Cleveland.  I wish I could be going to the OAKE conference later this year, but I just don't have the funds for a flight.  Hopefully it will be a little closer to Ohio soon! 

Part 1 will focus on Dawn Sloan, Susan Brumfield  and Brent Gault- the more typical general music stuff like centers, singing game, movement in the classroom, etc.
Part 2 will focus on David Holland (Classroom Drumming master) and Sarah Hasseler (chorus ideas!) and will be coming soon!

The first workshop I went to was on Music Centers given by Dawn Sloan.  A lot of the info I already knew but she definitely had some good tips and ideas.  I am really excited to download some of the apps she mentioned like: Sound Recall, Simon Music, Note works and more.

I also really want to order some shape drums because Dawn had a great composition activity for rhythm stations where you have 1 or 2 beat cards that go with the shape drums and the students make up a 4-8 beat pattern where they have to work together to make a beautiful composition. A quarter note might be printed on a triangle, square and circle.  Same with eighth notes and 16th notes, etc. The rule is that students can only play what is represented by the cards they picked so if they want more than one person to play at once- be it the same or a different rhythm- they have to write out the patterns using the cards accordingly.

She also reminded me that I really need to make BUSTED- a rhythm game where students choose a popsicle stick from a jar in the center.  Each popsicle stick either has a 1 beat rhythm on it (ta, ti-ti, tika-tika, etc) OR the word BUSTED.  Students take turns pulling sticks and reading the rhythm that their cards make.  If they read the rhythm wrong or pull BUSTED all their sticks go back in the center.  The student with the most popsicle sticks at the end wins.  The pin comes from the Stay Tuned Blog- check it out! 

Susan Brumfield had some great ideas about circle games, folk dancing, and gave us some great folk song history.

One of my favorites was her tip to have students practice what will now be a key phrase in my music room "Turn Your Way".  We all know that circle games with changing partners can be tricky because you can't just say "turn to your right" or "turn to your left" but if students practice "turning their way" over an over it doesn't matter who their partner is for this round, they will know which way to turn when it is time.   She also talked about the "Freeze Frame" when teaching the Grand Right and Left- another tricky folk dance move. When you are teaching the dance have students "freeze frame" right as they connect to a new partner so they can see who they are now with, what hand is connected to who, and where they are going. Another thing to help with this is to use colored bracelets ala "livestrong" and have everyone wear theirs on their RIGHT HAND and then alternate colors (blue and red, etc.) so that students always know their right hand and know that they should always be connecting to a person with the opposite color they have.

Another big talking (or singing!) point was text improv- such as new verses for Ida Red (Ida Red, Ida White- She's the prettiest girl in sight... etc).  She also mentioned that if students accidentally change the melody while improvising text- talk about it! Mention to the class that it was different and ask how?  Let these things happen organically and go with the flow.

I also loved that she told us about Pour Quoi and why the song is called that.  A "Pour Quoi" (or WHY?) Story is an origin story- for example about how an animal became the way it is "How the tiger got it's stripes" or why something came to exist "why there is lightning and thunder" and the song is a perfect example of that.  She made a super cute story bag (made out of brown lunch bags) with birds inside each pocket to help tell the story and did some more text improv with this song.

Adding harmony during a game was also something that seems to make so much sense- but I had never really thought of.  While we were playing a game called "Mrs. Macaroni" after every few rounds (really would be a different lesson in my situation) she had a different group of people sing harmony with the song.  She started with the boys singing a bass line on do and low so (they sang do until it "didn't sound right"), then added the girls singing mi and fa to fit with the chordal structure of the song and finally added that anyone wearing boots could switch to singing all so's so we had 4 parts if you include the melody. It sounded awesome, the game was still happening, and it is a super easy way to incorporate harmony into a lesson. 

One of my other favorite moments was singing "Shalom, Chaverim" in cannon while walking in concentric circles (one for each part). It was so beautiful, I almost started crying. I have already since done a concentric circle round since in 3rd grade and can't wait to do it in my 5th and 6th grade chorus rehearsals.

Susan Brumfields workshops had so many great ideas that I was really excited to check out her publications: First We Sing, Over the Garden Wall: Songs and Games from England, and Hot Peas and Barley-O: Songs and Games from Scotland. She is so thorough with why a song is a good song, where it comes from, how it can be used, etc.  These books will be an invaluable resource.

Brent Gault gave many ideas for movement in the general music room and some other great ideas in his Kodaly in the General Music Classroom sessions.

During his movement session he gave 3 goals of movement: Highlighting a musical element, providing a channel for creativity, and enhancing the musicality of a piece of music.  He was always making sure that we, even as music teachers, were moving musically rather than like robots.  We did movement to a 12 bar blues (different motion on each chord) and then in the same fashion we did movement to the Surprise Symphony.  I had done the blues activity before but never though of doing the same type of activity with classical music.    Each time we did movement, we started with a body and brain warm-up doing things like body signs, yes no repeat (students repeat exactly first AND then have to say opposite of teacher- if teacher says yes, students say no, etc.)  We then moved to non-locomotor movement and finally to locomotor.  He has the trick of having students move their body on simple rhythms and only their hands on more complicated (tika-tika and faster).

Even in his other workshops, we were almost always moving- whether it was just walking the beat while the teacher was singing a new song or keeping the beat in different places.   We did a great song called "Sail Away" where he used a combination of movement, powerpoint slides and rote singing to teach the form.  We ultimately ended up walking the beat and doing the "hand jive" on the A section, and then keeping the beat in 4 places (the students hand jive) during the B.

OMEA was great refresh and it made me excited to go back and teach.  I wish I would have ha school this week to use more of them.  Click HERE for OMEA General Music Overview- Part 2.

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