Thursday, September 25, 2014

Good Ears!

On Wednesday morning the last third grade class finished their "Four in a Boat" project, showing the phrase form of the song (4 phrases: the first two are almost the same and the last two completely different). Their job was to work with a team of 3-4 people to create a series of 3 moves that fit the form. It was amazing how many could do it perfectly! They could hear exactly where to change the movement to fit the song.

Moving on to the next third grade class (and the day 2 plan for the week) meant listening for pitch. Mrs. Martin's class learned three songs in very short order using syllables and body ladder to show the melody. It was amazing how quickly they got it (of course we've been working up to this for three years!). After the first song one child said "I can see that"—she could understand how the movement and sound matched. Suddenly there were many children with "ah-ha" moments as we discovered that the solfege syllable ladder matched our movements, too. And once we added words we had a song! From there we looked at a printed song and talked about how the notes also match the high/low sound of our voices.

The ability to listen—and to know what to listen for—is the most important thing to develop for musicians. This is a quick demonstration of the syllable system that has been used for centuries. It's called solfege. Here you'll see it used with a body ladder that helps children connect to the shape of the melody physically.

Mrs. Hanks' class singing a scale with body ladder

Third grade solfege syllable to song demonstration

 Next week we play melodies on xylophones and glockenspiels, paying attention to how far apart the sounds are on the instrument. Eyes will help, but music class is all about sound—all about developing good ears!