"Kristen does a great job of engaging the kids balanced with a command of the group. She incorporates educational aspects of music that are particularly appropriate for PreK kids - it's very exciting to watch! She uses active and quality songs that kids continued to sing, even after the class is over. The children are SO excited when they realize it is Ms. Kristen (music) day! I think she provides a balanced and exciting musical experience for the kids and is an asset to The Chapel's preschool program."
Zoltan Kodaly once said, “Teach music and singing at school in such a way that it is not a torture but a joy for the pupil; instill a thirst for finer music in him, a thirst which will last for a lifetime... Often a single experience will open the young soul to music for a whole lifetime. This experience cannot be left to chance; it is the duty of the school to provide it.”
It is my firm belief that music should be taught joyfully, with high expectations. Just as students can achieve literacy in the classroom, they can achieve musical literacy. My students and families often sing, dance, move, read, write, improvise, compose, and play instruments - all while experiencing the joy of music and improving their musical literacy. I hope to give you a glimpse of the musical things your family can do!
Here are some simple and fun musical activities to do at home.
Traditional melody ****Recording coming soon!****
This way go willoughby, willoughby, willoughby.
This way go willoughby, all day long!
Dancing down the alley, the alley, the alley.
Dancing down the alley, all day long!
(Repeat as desired)
What to do:
1. Share with your child that sometimes music is FAST (say the word quickly) and sometimes it is SLOW (draw out the word slowly).
2. Mirror for your child: Wave your arms around slowly and say "largo" (draw out the words slowly). Then, shout "presto" and dance around the room quickly!
3. Try doing this a few times! Really take your time singing the "all...day...long" portion. Let the PRESTO be a surprise! Toddlers especially love this game.
***Willoughby makes a fantastic transition piece--sing/play when walking down the hallway, down the sidewalk (stay safe) or even on the way to bed! Reluctant children often enjoy doing a task when there is fun music involved!***
1. Listen to the recording here if you want a review.
2. Ask your child to listen for when they think the servants are being serious or silly. (There is a clear contrast between the A and B motives in timbre and tempo.)
3. Lay out some feet on the floor. See HERE. You can use them to walk along a "magic path" to the heartbeat of a song, or as your child begins to learn more difficult concepts, he can lay them out to match the form of the piece. It is a great visual and physical way to show the beat or form. This is great for audiation, too, because students can sing the red feet out-loud while putting the blue inside their head, etc.
You can get foot prints HERE or make your own out of paper and laminate!
Classical Repertoire (especially for children!): Laban Themes (whole body movement)
Composer Camille Saint-Saens wrote his carnival as a private performance for two pianos and various instruments. Carnival of the Animals is a musical suite of fourteen movements composed during the French Romantic period. Each song in this series represents the movement of a different animal. Have children move around the animal represented in the song: they will prowl like lions, crawl like tortoises, walk and swing their trunks like elephants, move in a slow, swimming motion like the fish, etc.
In this song, the piano keys represent the bubbles floating up to the surface and the violins and flutes represent the fish moving gently through the water. Dance slowly with scarves, pretending the scarves are the waves or seaweed. As them to move in a slow, gentle motion like the fish moving through the water. At the very end you hear little 'bursts' of music. Use your hands to show bubbles popping and follow in a downward motion. So fun!
Royal March of the Lions
Have your child prowl like a lion along with the music. At intervals, the piano rumbles up and down the bass notes to create a lion’s roar, and you can pretend to roar!
The music plays slowly and lazily like turtles. Have your child move like a turtle, in a slow and cumbersome crawl. You can also have them place a towel on their back as the turtle shell, trying not to let their shell slip off as they crawl. (Extra points if you have a TMNT costume!)
Fly and flutter about the room along with the fluttery sound of the flutes and piano in the song. Give your child non-verbal instructions to pretend to land on a branch, fly away again, swoop down to catch a worm, etc. through modeling.
Pretend to move like elephants, swinging their “trunk” (arms), in a slow, cumbersome manner. Give your child non-verbal instructions to stop, drink water from a pool with their trunk, lift their trunk to spray the water, scoop up some food with their trunk and curl it to their mouth, etc. through modeling.
Hop around the room like a kangaroo as the piano plays the short “jumpy” notes (staccato), then keep still as the piano plays gently.
Song/Book: Going on a Bear Hunt
Click HERE to access a recording and reading of the story. Remember to use your singing voice!
Materials you might use: Grass - rainstick tipped from side to side
River - sandblocks scraped together backwards and forwards
Mud - tambour played with soft beater
Forest - claves representing snapping twigs
Snowstorm - soft beater played on the edge of the cymbal to sound
We're going on a bear hunt;
We're going to catch a big one
We're going on a bear hunt. What a beautiful day! We're not scared!
(Uh oh! An....)
We can't go over it
We can't go under it
Oh, no! We've got to go through it! (continue reading/singing with the book)
OR...Compose your own bear hunt story!
Decide on a new journey and think about what the hazards might be. Examples:
crossing a valley on a wobbly rope bridge – wibble wobble wibble wobble
crawling through a wet, dark tunnel – drip drip, woooo, drip drip woooo
Practice each of the word patterns and choose actions to match. Once you have planned your journey and decided on the order of the new hazards, practice saying the story chant all the way through performing it with the new actions.Explore the instruments as before to add to the story and eventually be used in a performance of the new version.