Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Psyched about music

I've been teaching music to Maylin's kindergarten class since mid-January. I use the Kodaly method which involves lots of singing and games to help expose children to musical concepts. I bring in puppets, too, for even more fun. The most important thing in music class is to have the children experience the joy of music-making. I only have about fifteen minutes once a week with the kids (they have a pretty packed schedule including art, cooking, gardening, movement, swimming to start soon, and already a weekly Orff music class -- I have no clue what they're learning in there since Maylin seems to always forget what they did), but it's perfect for me since Stefan, who often accompanies me, usually needs to be fed and/or take a nap right afterwards.

So far, the kindergarteners have learned about loud and soft singing, and using high and low voices. Yesterday, I introduced the concept of high and low notes. They've already learned the two note (so-mi) "Bee, Bee" song with me which I used to demonstrate the hi-lo concept. In the past, I've used a chalkboard or a white board helping the kids visualize the notes of the song. But Maylin's classroom doesn't have one. My creative solution (I hope I didn't just borrow this idea from someone and forget that I did) was to use the children's bodies to represent the notes instead. For a twelve-note song, there were twelve children that were called upon to stand up to be a "hi/high" note or to sit down to be a "lo/low" note. They had to decide for themselves and the rest of the class would check their work. I could feel how excited and engaged the children were during this main section of the class. I definitely feed off of this energy.

I opened the class by teaching an upbeat circle game/dance called "All 'Round the Brickyard" and closed with the guessing game, "Who's That Tapping at the Window?" The latter was new to the children, too, but they learned very quickly. The guesser has his/her eyes closed while we all sing, "Who's that tapping at the window? Who's that knocking at the door?" Then a volunteer Mommy sings, "Mommy's tapping at the window," followed by a volunteer Daddy, "Daddy's knocking on the door." I get to listen to solo singers and gauge where they're at musically, the guesser works on his/her listening skills, and we all have a good time.

I felt so great after this especially successful class. I felt I was very effective and I just knew that the kids felt good about what they were learning and were having a lot of fun. Their classroom teacher enjoyed it, too.

It is hard to stay involved in my music with a little baby, but it's possible to do in small doses like this. Maylin's teacher said that Stefan (who was in his stroller near me) was watching me and following my voice the entire time. Maybe Stefan's learning something, too. He's always been a music-lover. Might be innate, might be all the Mozart I was playing on my piano while he was in-utero.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

That sounds like so much fun, for you and the kids.

My three-year-old has music lessons at preschool and they are organized similarly. Lots of singing and puppets and learning about loud and soft, high and low. I think it is so important for children to be exposed to these things while they are still young, and in a way that is stimulating and fun for them.