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, and focused on musical skills: tempo, rhythm, breath control, posture, and hand-eye coordination through different activities.
The recorder, an instrument from the woodwind family, has been in existence for over 700 years and is the ancestor to the modern flute. The children continued to strengthen their recorder skills: embouchure- the position of your lips, tongue, and teeth, proper fingering, posture, phrasing, breathing, and melody. They learned and memorized four songs: Hot Cross Buns, Buns Hot Cross, The Frog, Good News, and Old McDonald, which they performed at Grandparents' Day. All of these songs are written with three notes: B, A, and G. They also incorporated different percussion instruments as well as their singing voices for each song.
The ukulele, an instrument usually associated with Hawaiian music, is from the 19th century. It is an adaptation of an instrument from Portugal called the machete. The children learned four chords: F, C7, C, and G7, and four songs: Mary Had a Little Lamb, Skip to my Lou, He's Got the Whole World In His Hands, and Clementine. Playing the ukulele requires hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, strumming techniques, rhythm, and beat. They also sang while they played, combining musical skills that both require focus and coordination.
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.