Thursday, February 20, 2014

We Got the Blues (and we love it!)

Hello, all!

Well, it's Thursday. 1 more day until Friday. To help you get through, let me introduce you to one of my favorite pieces of music: Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin. Don't be put off by the length; leave it on in the background as you read and browse.

Listen to that soaring clarinet in the beginning. Doesn't it just lift your spirit? Make you feel just a little bit more relaxed and happy? As the music gets faster, doesn't it also increase your mood? 

Tonight's Presentation

This week, I introduced the class to jazz in honor Black History Month. I don't do a lot for this month; instead I spread multicultural influences through the topics throughout the year. But in February, when the weather's dreary, it's time for a boost.

By the way, if you want to see a complete set of ideas for jazz or just music in general, you can go here

A Short Musical History Lesson 

You may think you don't like jazz; in fact, it influenced modern music. Let's take an example: Justin Beiber. I hate his music, but he says he was influenced by Stevie Wonder. His influences? Ray Charles. His? Blues, gospel, and jazz, including Nat King Cole. Wonder was born in 1930, so he would have been 9 when Benny Goodman was popular and 12 when Rhapsody in Blue was commissioned for a third time. 
Then you have Jerry Lee Lewis, who listened to gospel growing up.
What were you listening to when you were 9? 
Do your own experiment: how far back can you trace your favorite modern artist? 

On With the Show!

So how did the children do with jazz? They loved it! I pulled out the laptop during circle. After I had them guess what instrument was on a flash card, I pulled up videos of Neal Peart, Benny Goodman, Santana, and Thelonious Monk. I pointed out different instruments as they used them and challenged them to listen for them.
After they were done, we did music BINGO. 
*One little boy warmed my heart. He's hardly ever here, but when he is, he tries so hard and picks up on things quickly. He's currently in speech therapy. He was one of the first to pick up on instrument names and did extremely well at BINGO!*

Earlier this week, we did art to music. A blue collage to Rhapsody in Blue with fabric, paper, yarn, pencils, and crayons. Here are some pictures:

I usually don't like ditto sheets, but I found this great puzzle mural at the dollar store and decided it would be great for cooperation and teamwork:

I love the distinct style each child brings!

Tomorrow, we're looking at our favorite songs on sheet music. We'll be focusing on the rhythm and finding the rhythm in our names. The students will be learning syllabication, directionality, one-to-one correspondence, counting, and even some division! That's a lot of skills for "Old MacDonald."  I put the links on my Pinterest page under "Literacy."
After that, the kids will get music notes (quarter and eighth) and they can create their own rhythm. 


To top it off, the kids reached their class reward (with a little extra encouragement and rewards from me) so they got to bring in a favorite CD this week. We've had Willy Wonka, Bob Marley, Jesus Loves Me, and traditional kids' songs. 
One kid didn't bring in a CD, but he wanted me to play "Cum On Feel the Noize" by Quiet Riot. I played him KISS' "Rock and Roll All Night" instead.
Next week, if the kids are still interested, we might extend music a little. I have the feeling that even if we move on, we'll still talk about it against the backdrop of the topic. 


How do you celebrate music in the classroom?


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