Monday, October 3, 2016

Mindful Music Moments


My school has started doing an awesome program this year called Mindful Music Moments.  Each morning after the announcements we listen to a piece of music.  Students are supposed to listen silently, feet flat on the floor, hands in their laps, and eyes closed (or focused).  They hear a short mindfulness prompt then the same song is played for an entire week so students really get to learn the piece. 

For this program the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Opera teamed up with the creator of this program-Stacy Sims of City Silence- to provide quality recordings to give students and staff at schools a chance to "just be" during the  mornings before having to think about the stress of the school day. 

Students are asked to think about and focus on different things while listening calmly each day. While the piece is playing, we listen for tempo, mood, instruments, and more. Each piece is also connected to our school wide PBIS expectations- The Wilson Way.  I LOVE this program. The students are getting exposed to music we might not have listened to, learning about the music/ composers/ history, and most importantly they are getting valuable tools to help relieve the stress of school.

Some of the songs we have listened to so far are:
Fanfare for the Common Man - Aaron Copland
Flight of the Bumblebee- Rimsky-Korsokov
O Mio Babbino Caro- Puccini

Check out the website or watch the video below to learn more: City Silence-Mindful Music Moments

After students listen in the morning, I reinforce the weeks music during music class.  Sometimes I show a video, or I read a story to go along with the music. We often do movement- with and without props. Students LOVED being bees and flowers during Flight of the Bumblebee and watching the Luminocity Video for Fanfare for the Common Man (See below).  We also have talked about opera and watched opera scenes, as well as watched videos that show the music notation in a fun, iconic way.

In addition to the ideas above, I went to a workshop this past weekend (yay for TRIKE- Tri-city Kodaly Educators!) that gave me many more ideas for reinforcement of these great classical pieces in music class- aside from just listening and coloring or listening and journaling.  I now have built in listening lessons (in addition to what I was already doing) which is great! A friend from Undergrad, Jenna Swartz, gave a one hour workshop on great listening ideas she has come up with and I LOVED it!   One idea was to pair a wordless picture book with a piece of music.  Jenna really has a knack for finding the PERFECT song for books. She showed us 3 that fit perfectly and I plan on doing all 3 in my classroom this year. 

She also gave us ideas for the ever-popular "freeze dance"- or as I play it "musical bumps" (where students sit when the music stops instead of freeze because it is easier to see who is out!).   For this game, to make it more aligned with the curriculum, Jenna always uses THE BEST music (usually classical) and tells the students they MUST dance like the music sounds.  They also have fun describing the song during the pauses.  Jenna will call on a random student at each pause to say one adjective that describes the music and then at the end of the game, the class votes on which 3 words describe the song best. Perfect.

How do you incorporate listening lessons into your classroom?