Monday May 23…finishing up last week’s lessons

As promised, here are the primary solfa lessons from last week. Grade 1: Students in grade 1 worked on a song called “I Am Running” using mi, sol and la.  I begin by having the students review space and line notes, by showing me with their hands and their heads which is which.  For a line note they put one hand pointing to either side of their head, as if there were a line running through it. For a space note they place one hand over their head and the other under their chin, as if their head is a note sitting in the space between two lines.  When I have them look at the notation, I first ask them to show me with their hands and heads which one I am pointing to, without saying line or space note, so that they see the connection.  We note that mi and sol are both the same kind of note.  La is different.  And of course, their positions on the staff:  mi is lower, sol is higher, la is higher still.  (We actually sing that phrase on each of the pitches.) The rhythm for I am running is so easy that we hardly have to go over it at all.  With a more difficult song I would spend time on the rhythm separate from the melody, but for this one I really don’t.  Once they have sung the melody several times using the solfa syllables, I have them add the words, without teaching them by rote.  When they have it down, we sing it quickly using only one breath.  Then we progressively slow it down, seeing how slowly they can go before they need more than one breath to complete the song.  They enjoy the challenge.

Grade 2: In grade 2 we worked on “Pease Porridge Hot”.  After having the students sing some mi’s re’s and do’s by following random hand signals, I ask them to identify which is which by sound.  I’ll hum one without singing the syllable, and call on individuals to tell me which one they think it is, reminding them all that the pitches are high, medium or low.  They’re getting pretty good at it!  Next we work on the rhythm of the song, speaking, clapping and speaking, clapping witho9ut speaking.  (I tell them to say the syllables in their heads.  We use doo for quarter notes, dooday for eighths and, when necessary, shh for rests, although I ask them to try to do it with no sound at all, since that’s what a rest is supposed to be.)  We work on the melody without rhythm, then add the rhythm.  Finally, I sing the song through for them one time, then tell them what the words are, phrase by phrase, and have them sing them using the correct pitches.  Finally, we sing the entire song. Next we get ourselves a partner and face each other.  The steady beat pattern is patsch (lap), clap, partner’s hands, clap.  After practicing it a few times we set it to the music, starting slowly, and gradually speeding up each time.

Our book for this week was “Mama Don’t Allow”.  This song is actually the first song in the grade 5 MusicPlay book, but I find it not too difficult at all for the young ones, particularly by the end of the year. The book is a Reading Rainbow book, and there is a video that goes with it….although I forgot all about that and didn’t use it.  Hmmmm…there’s still time.  The song is printed in the back.  The author is Thatcher Hurd, and the ISBN is 978-1-4351-0664-2  or    1-4351-0664-4.  (I found out that one of those is a library ISBN, the other is a trade ISBN.  Either one should lead you to the correct book.)  After we read the book we sing the song.  The students really enjoy coming up with all kinds of things that Mama won’t ‘low.  Don’t be shy about making them keep it appropriate. We’ll still be at it here in PA until June 16th, so watch for a few more lessons.  Once we’re out for the summer I plan to start working on getting my literacy lessons, (reading and writing music), written and online in their correct order. Have a good week….See ya Friday. :0) Jane


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