Wednesday, April 20, 2011
One approach to teaching elementary music is to focus on traditional singing games and dances at least in the earlier grades. In my experience, this approach is extremely effective in engaging children in joyful musicing. Singing games in elementary school have intrinsic motivation, meaning that the motivation to participate is contained within the game; students want to play the games over and over because of the game's inherent strategies and challenges. In fact, the teacher usually tires of the games before the students do. And, really, to help children develop the ability to sing songs with others it is essential that they sing the same songs over and over. If you try to have the students simply sit and sing the same song over and over, chances are they will become bored. Also, in the singing games are plenty of opportunities to develop interpersonal and communication skills. My recommendation for Kindergarten through at least third grade music is to have 80 to 90 percent of the time devoted to these singing games. Of course, this doesn't mean that the students simply play the games over and over, but includes activities in which the games are explored rhythmically and melodically and changed or extended. In this blog I discuss how specific singing games can be applied in this way in the elementary music classroom as well as integrated within the regular elementary classroom.