Friday, May 6th. The Week in a Nutshell

href=””>  This week we’ve been working on reading, singing and playing sixteenth notes.  We began by reviewing a song that we’d learned previously, “Chattanooga Choo Choo.”  We use the Gordon syllables in our district, so quarter notes are spoken “doo”, eighth notes are spoken “doo-day” and sixteenths are spoken “doo-ta-day-ta.”

Step one: Speak the rhythm.  (doo-ta-day-ta  doo-ta-day-ta  doo-ta-day-ta  doo-day, doo-ta-day-ta  doo-ta-day-ta  doo-day  doo.)

Step 2:  Add simple body percussion: 16ths are brushed, 8ths are clapped, quarters are patsched in the lap.

Step 3: Have the students clap the rhythm while keeping the syllable solely in their head.


The song uses do, mi, sol, la and high do.  The students learn the melody by reading the tones from the staff.  I teach the words by rote.  Once they students know the complete song, have them line up behind you.  The line can only move on the 16th notes since they are performed by moving the feet.(Forward.)  Eighths are still clapped and quarters are still patsched, but the feet must not move on the 8th or quarter notes.  We start slowly and repeat several times, getting faster on each repetition.

Transfer to mallet instruments.

Previously on our mallet instruments we had been working on intervals.  Starting on low C we played 2nds, (cdcdcdcdcdcdc), 3rds, (cecececececec, 4ths and so on up to octaves.  Up until this point the students have understood that you play the called for interval by starting at C and counting the bars up to the number of the interval you wish to play.  For example, if you want to play a 5th, start with C as number 1, count the bars up to 5, which will be G, and play C-G.

For this lesson we reviewed 2nds, 3rds,5ths, 6ths and octaves.  I hung a poster of “Chattanooga Choo Choo” in C, a picture of a mallet board and a large C scale, written in whole notes.  I explained that when the treble clef is present, the note with 1 ledger line is C.  I showed them that, just as you count bars from 1 to 5 to play a 5th, you count notes on the staff to play the same interval.  Since we’d previously worked on triads, they were able to learn the melody fairly easily.  Once that was done I added a simple C-G bordun on the woods and had the metals play the melody.

Targeted learning: 16th notes, intervals, triads, line and space notes, mallet technique.


We’ve been reviewing the Star Spangled Banner this week.  We always sing it at the opening ceremonies of our field day, which is coming up.  In addition to reviewing SSB etiquette, (stand up, hat off, no goofing around of any kind, especially in the way you sing it,) it’s great for reviewing or teaching vocal technique.  I especially needed to do that because, in spite of a large number of chorus members, I’m not getting as much sound or energy from them as I’d like.  Breathing and using the abdominal muscles while opening the mouth work wonders, and working on this, particularly on the higher end of the SSB range is getting me the desired results.

Because we are having end of year slacking off and a certain amount of disrespect going around, I reviewed last week’s song, “Show Me Some Respect” (See post:  “Respectful Relationship” under classroom management.)  Our character trait for May is Responsibility, so, in keeping with school wide attempts to keep a lid on behavior until June 16th, I  taught “Responsible”.  (MusicK-8 vol 11#2.)  The list of vocabulary words referencing good character in this song is fabulous.   The kids love the song, which makes it easy to have a good discussion about decency, fairness, honesty, respect, discipline, justice, courage, integrity, morality humility and kindness.  Just a great song.

It supposed to be a lovely weekend here in PA.  I hope yours is too!  Happy Friday!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Friday, May 13; The Week in a Nutshell « Tuesday Music
  2. Trackback: Grade 5. Music Literacy Lesson #2 « Tuesday Music

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