An important part of our daily routine in the music room is to begin each class with a greeting game or song. This month, our 2nd graders have learned a new greeting game that lets them sing independently, work with a partner, and act like a turkey! This particular greeting begins with one "lead turkey" who chooses a partner to gobble with. The number of turkeys flocking around the circle multiplies with each repetition. Students are practicing tuneful singing and rhythmic patterns, developing gross motor coordination, internalizing the form of this two part game and they are having fun with all of it!
Chorus students spent rehearsal today learning about Diwali. Several students who celebrate this holiday shared their favorite family traditions with us as an introduction. All 82 students were up and dancing to begin their day with positive energy and shared fun.
This traditional dance, called Dandiya, has origins in Gujarat, India and is designed to be done in large groups. Dandiya is closely associated with the Navratri festival (usually occurring in October), but is also commonly done at Diwali (late October or November), and at other special occasions and gatherings, such as weddings. Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists all celebrate Diwali, although for each faith it marks different historical events and stories. The focus of the celebration centers around new beginnings, good over evil, and lightness or darkness. Happy Diwali!
Our arrangement inspired by "Drum Dream Girl" is coming together nicely! Both classes have been working on it for 2-3 class periods so far. Here, you can see an entire class working to put six different musical parts together into one beautiful piece. They are playing xylophone, glockenspiel, maracas, guiro, and drum. One student said, "It's a vibe!" and they were right! Working in this way allows students to practice their ensemble skills. This requires a specific kind of critical listening and aural awareness of the parts happening all around them.
First graders have been playing a favorite game called "Pumpkin Patch" in music class. This poem helps reinforce steady beat and rhythm and also allows student to practice independence in leading the group.
These classes have been learning an American folk song called "Paw Paw Patch". Pawpaw trees are the largest edible fruit trees in North America. The fruit has a sweet, custard flavor suggesting faint traces of mangos, bananas, papaya and pineapple. The game our students are playing here is called a "play party" and originated in Appalachia. This type of dancing lets students move to the form of a song, work with a partner, experience a traditional reel folk dance and have fun!!
4th graders have been learning about Cuban music this past month. The book, "Drum Dream Girl" by Margarita Engle and Rafael Lopez, was inspired by a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba's traditional taboo against female drummers. This story features the bongos, timbales and conga drums along with the determination of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga. In 1932, at the age of ten, Millo joined her sisters in Cuba's first all-female dance band "Anacoana" (photo below). She was the youngest in the family, but made a name for herself in a field previously denied to women.
Students have also been learning about some contemporary female drummers from Cuba such as Brenda Navarrete and Yissy Garcia. (hear them below) In addition to listening and learning, students have been playing. We hope to share their arrangements inspired by Millo's story using xylophones, glockenspiels, guiro, claves, and of course, DRUMS in the next few weeks.
Our 2nd grade students have been thoroughly enjoying our return to SINGING in music class! They sing to say "good morning", they sing to play games, they sing to create stories, and they even sing to line up and say goodbye. They have been exploring their 4 different voices; singing, talking, whispering and calling. In the video below, you can see some brave students volunteer to lead the class in our welcome song. Talking and singing are welcome voice choices in this call and response song. It's been exciting to hear students singing more and more in their upper register which usually allows for better pitch matching at this age. This routine greeting also allows them to practice their best audience manners complete with raucous applause and some fantastic bows.
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