Posted on May 10, 2017
This semester was filled with many different musical experiences. Our main focus was on extension, instrumentation, and performance skills. We learned songs, music theory, rhythm, and creative movement. We also focused on musical skills: tempo (fast and slow), pitch (high and low), melody, and ostinato (short phrase repeated throughout a composition) through different activities. We reviewed rhythm, pitch, bitonic melodies, and the so-mi solfege with the song, "Brown Bear, Brown Bear." The students sang individually and in a group and recognized high-low pitch. For our extension activity, they played stick notation rhythms on the xylophone. They took turns playing three parts: ta, titi, and rest, and following rhythmic patterns. They also used percussion instruments like the castanets, maracas, shakers, rhythm sticks, hand drums, and guiros to play these rhythms.
Playing the xylophone, the children identified low, middle, and high notes on a tritonic scale. They played with two mallets using both the left and the right hand, which developed and strengthened their hand-eye coordination. They sang and played the xylophone while keeping a steady beat, and also discussed the musical staff, notes on a line, notes on a space, and the treble clef.
We also reviewed songs from other cultures like "Bate, Bate," a Mexican chant, and "Obwaseemee," and African stone passing game. These songs not only teach them musical skills like singing, rhythm, and movement, but also expose them to different languages and cultures from around the world.
In continuing our "Hundred languages," a Reggio Emilia concept, we welcomed John Farrell, singer, songwriter, and author, to share songs with us during an all school assembly. He is also part of "Bridges of Peace and Hope," an international network of teachers, students, and friends collaborating on creative, arts in education projects that promote respect, understanding, and communication. We have been singing and doing sign language to a couple of his songs during chapel and at assemblies. We continued our global education and reflected on the importance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. We revisited the song, "We Shall Overcome," a powerful hymn from the 20th century that became the unofficial song of the Civil Rights Movement.
Performance is an assessment when students demonstrate everything they have learned about music concepts and skills. We ended the semester with our annual May Day program: E Holoholo Kākou, Let's Go Holoholo! Our songs tell about using various modes of transportation through mele and hula, an appropriate end-of-year assessment of their musical and performance growth.