Monday, February 25, 2013

Second Grade Music Skills

Making music is an activity that is unique to—and essential for—human beings, so the goal is to prepare children for a lifetime of possibilities. As the second graders prepared for their concert I thought about the skills they're working on this year. They are usually presented as parts of games, and the goal is to play with the elements of music to gain understanding. Here is the list:
  • Provide appropriate feedback to performers using musical terminology
  • Demonstrate the ability to keep a steady beat to a song or ostinato
  • Create simple rhythm patterns by using levels of body percussion
  • Understand that notation can represent melodic direction and duration.
  • Use rhythm notation: quarter note and rest, paired eighths, half note and rest,
    whole note and rest, repeat signs
  • Read a 2-verse score
  • Identify instruments of the orchestra by family
  • Create short melodies
  • Sing with expression in a healthy manner with a clear, free tone
  • Improvise rhythmic movement to various styles of music
  • Appropriate audience behavior for 3 to 5 minute musical selections
  • Listen to music from different periods of musical history and understand that music evolved through and relates to history
  • Play traditional and non-traditional instruments
It's also the year they begin to work on ensemble skills—that's making music with other people, not just by themselves. Think of these as music teamwork skills.

Good musical ensembles can . . .
  • Start and stop together
  • Listen to get in the grove
  • Sing and play at the same time
  • Perform harmony
  • Watch the director
 Exposure at this point in their lives will prepare students for whatever musical activities they want to be part of when they’re older. At SCC that usually means choir, band, and maybe piano or guitar. Second grade builds a good foundation.