Grade 4, Music Literacy Lesson 2

Our 2nd music lit lesson for Grade 4 is one that I actually haven’t used before. It is still review, and will use do, re, mi, sol, la, half note, quarter note, eighth note, bar line, measure, and double bar.

I think I’ll begin by asking the students to remember what a bar line is for, and how many beats we are putting in each group. This will easily lead to note values for each type of note, and perhaps some note value addition. (Quarter + Quarter = Half,
Eighth + Eighth + Quarter = Half etc.) The large 2 at the beginning of the song will show that we are putting 2 beats in each group, called measures. I will ask them to count how many measures are in the song, and write the number on their whiteboards. I always ask them to try to keep their answer a secret and hold up their boards at the same time so that I can assess what each one really knows, as opposed to what a few know and the rest copy.

One way of showing beats in measures is to put 3 hula hoops on the floor so that kids can easily step from one into another. he hoops form a circle.)
If we want 2 beats in a measure, we step into a hoop, then pull the other foot along side, always stepping forward into the hoop on 1. (After practicing with counts move to “The Ants Go Marching.”) For 4 beats in a measure, we step, march, march, march; step march march march. (Move to “I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad.”) The tricky one is 3, because you’re always stepping forward on the opposite foot. (Move to “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.) But, I digress….

I always practice the rhythm first, having the students speak it in Gordon syllables: half note= doo-oo, quarter note = doo, eighth notes = doo-day. Next we speak and clap. (Clap and swing the half note.) Finally we “speak” in our heads, only hearing the rhythms through the claps. 3 different ways of performing the rhythms allows for multiple practice experiences.

Now we work on the melody, first by practicing the tones we will be singing using the Curwen hand signals.

On the board I have noted on the staff where do is located. After reviewing line and space notes we slowly read the tones without rhythm. (This may or may not be necessary more than once.) The last thing we do before adding the words by rote is to practice the tones and rhythms simultaneously.

The words are easy:

Oh, I’m gonna sing, gonna sing, gonna sing, gonna sing all along the way.
Oh, I’m gonna sing, gonna sing, gonna sing, gonna sing all along the way.

(Southern Folk Tune.)

Next week we start something new: Low sol.


Grade 3, Music Literacy Lesson #2

Today’s lesson is quick and easy for me, since I used it as 4th grade’s beginning of the year review last week.
“Did You Ever Ever Ever in Your Long Legged Life,” using notation. I put the following short song on the board, without the words. Double click on the picture for a larger view.

The song is good for teaching fermata, which I greatly exaggerate for the sake of fun and clarity, do, re and mi read from the staff, quarter note, eighth note and pick up note. I always begin by having them speak the rhythm. In this case the two 8th notes at the beginning will be elongated because of the fermata. When I have them clap and speak the rhythm, we will just hold the clap for each fermata. (Swinging the hands after the clap indicates a half note, which this is not, so I just hold my hands still.) After clapping and speaking I have the students “speak” the syllables in their heads rather than aloud, so that we only hear the rhythm through the clapping. These 3 steps provide 3 opportunities for practice, while not just doing the same thing over and over again.

Next we review line and space notes. They have been used to making a space note out of their head by placing one hand on top and the other under their chin. Similarly, they make a line note by placing one hand on either side of their head. As I point to line and space notes on the board, they show me by their hand position to which one they think I’m pointing. We then review do, re and mi with Curwen hand signals. I mix the signals randomly and they sing whichever one I show.

Finally, I identify do for them, and give them several opportunities to read the melody from the staff. The rhythm is so simple that they often incorporate it immediately, but if not, we go back and do that as well.

Finally, I teach them the words and motions.

The motions are as follows, on the steady beat, except for the fermata.

First 8th note patsch. Second 8th note clap.

Patch, clap, patsch, clap, hands apart, clap, patsch, clap, hands apart, clap, patsch, clap, hands apart, clap, patsch.

The effect is to always have the hands apart on the word “long”, showing length.

The 2nd verse is “Did you ever ever ever in your short-legged life meet a short-legged sailor with a short-legged wife.” Hands show a tiny space on the word “short.

3rd verse: ”Did you ever ever ever in your one-legged life”….pick up one foot on “one.”

4th verse: “Did you ever ever ever in your no legged life”…pick up both feet on “no.”

If the students are standing for this the effect will be standing on one foot for “one-legged”, and jumping for “no legged.”

The 5th verse combines them all: “Did you ever ever ever in your long-legged, short-legged, one -legged, no -legged life.” We’re all out of breath by the time we’re done!