When I first started teaching elementary music, I was adamant about teaching children the correct names of music notes along with their durations expressed just how I know them as an adult musician. I didn’t fully understand the benefits of other rhythmic syllable systems and found them a waste of time. Why not teach a child the correct name for eighth note? Aren’t we encouraging them to use language that in the end means nothing to musicians? “Apple” and “ti-ti” are incorrect. Well, I soon learned teaching rhythm to elementary students using the standard notation number method made my students feel overwhelmed and bored when difficult rhythmic patterns were combined with tedious counting of 1-e-&-a, 2-e-&-a. As I learned that a “fun music class” is a happy music class, I began seeing the benefits of each alternate system, and found that using them increased student participation and understanding.
Zoltán Kodály was a Hungarian composer and ethnomusicologist who created the Kodály method of music education in the 1930s. Kodály wrote, “To teach a child an instrument without first giving him preparatory training and without developing singing, reading and dictating to the highest level along with the playing is to build upon sand.” He spent his life perfecting music education, using a combination of methods such as Curwen hand signs, the pentatonic scale, movable Solfege syllables, the Dalcroze rhythmic movement technique, and Rhythmic syllable notation.
Rhythm is simplified to nemonic syllables such as ta and ti-ti using the Kodály approach. In this way, young children can learn to express rhythm separately from reading music notation.
There they are. Twenty-five students all lined up and staring wide-eyed at you. You know you need to warm them up, but are afraid this will be the "boring" part of the lesson. Don't give up on warm ups yet! Here are five elementary music choir warm ups kids love. I've compiled and tested these myself.
1. SSS Contest
Have students stand up and then direct them to all take a deep breath at the same time and let it out on the sound "ss." When each student finishes their breath, direct them to sit down. The last student standing is the winner. (You can give them a prize/sticker if you'd like.) Tip: If you think someone has cheated, pick a few classmates to be judges and watch the others.
Going back to class can be daunting after a long summer break. Elementary class is filled with miraculous moments of children coming together in beautiful harmony, learning that Christmas concert song just in time, or giving you a fond smile as they hand you a handmade gift with a note that reads, "Best Teacher Ever." But there are also those times when eyes role, children group together to exclaim how much they hate an activity, and one sincere question from a student sends the class into chaos. Let's be honest, you may be hesitating a little on finalizing your lesson plan this year, and with good reason! Will you meet the Music State Standards? Will you end up boring kids with too much theory? Here are ten steps for a successful elementary school year.
1. Procedures, procedures, procedures
Before you roll out your lesson plan, mentally go through every aspect of your lesson time from the first second you see them until the very last student exits the room. You can't decide to have a morning activity if you don't know how they enter the room. Will you set the activity out? Will they form a circle? Sit in seats? Is there a welcome song? What does their homeroom teacher say to quiet them? If there are books or papers, how do they pass them out or collect them?
Channel summer excitement and keep students engaged at home with these summer-themed music coloring pages!
Click the link below to access the coloring pages. This is a fun review of music notes, rests, dynamic, and other music terms for your students.
This package includes ten simple Summer themed music review color by music pages for elementary students to do at home, private lesson, or in the classroom. This review covers: Notes, Rests, Dynamic, staff, and clefs and includes an answer key! This product is great for little musicians to use at home during school closure or summer holidays. Easily use these coloring pages for distance learning by sending .pdfs and instructions for your students or their parents. Answer keys are provided for parents or a sub to check and assist kids when they are having trouble.
Get your summer review pages here.
*All pages may be colored with a 24 crayon set or 8 basic colors plus pink.
You might also like:
Learn Music Through Coloring Birds: Notes, Rests, and Meter
Music Conducting Quiz
Time Signature Coloring Page 2/4 3/4 and 4/4
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I am happy to help!
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Covid-19 has changed the music industry forever, but the music industry has not been crippled. If anything, musicians have shown the world their resilience. When concert venues shut down, live streaming gained popularity. When the doors shut to private lesson studios, teachers took their students online via Zoom and other platforms. But what will music education look like in the 2020-2021 school year? Is music education in jeopardy as school districts make decisions about the budget after the world’s largest recession?
by Angela Bond
I remember going to college for my BA and being forced to take the general requirements for music theory. I had taken all the theory classes at the community college level so I could transfer out of theory at the upper level, only to get partial credit on my entrance test and have to repeat one class. Admittedly, I was very good my second time around, but when I encountered theory at the masters level, I was again hit by that feeling of impending doom. After encountering student after student scoff at music theory, I wonder, Why is music theory so hard?
Is Music Theory Irrelevant?
I don’t think music theory has to be difficult. You can break it down to the smallest ideas and anyone can learn. I believe if two problems are addressed, music theory may return to its former glory. The first topic to address is relevance. Just face it, how many students have to know counterpoint in the real world? The riskiest yet most necessary thing for us to do as a society is regularly overhaul our systems. We should constantly be looking towards the future, to ways we can better ourselves and make overall improvements.