Sunday, May 8, 2011

Simple Ways to Repeat a Song

This evening Audrey (our three-year-old) was singing Twinkle Twinkle on a neutral syllable. I said, "Let's sing it like cows!" And we did. "Moo moo moo moo moo moo moo . . ." Then I said, "Let's sing it like cats." And we did. "Meow meow meow meow meow meow meow . . ." Then I said, "Let's sing it like dogs." And we did. "Bark bark" or "Arf arf". Then she said, "Let's sing it like dinosaurs." And we did. "Graur, graur, graur, graur . . ." And on and on we went for about 20 repetitions of the song (tigers, snakes, etc.). At some point Sophie (out six-year-old) joined in. What fun! Eventually, Audrey started throwing in some non-animal options and we had to figure out how to sing it like broccoli. "Broc-lee, broc-lee, broc-lee, broc-lee . . ." Anyway, my point is that it is easy to find ways to repeat a song and it's also fun to engage the imaginations of children in this way. And, even though we weren't really thinking about curriculum, we addressed singing on pitch and exploring various tone colors or timbres. We also sang Old MacDonald Had a Farm, Bingo, and How Much is that Doggy in the Window? They liked the last one a lot, because they threw in the "bark bark" part at the ends of phrases. I was pointing at them, cueing the "bark bark" part. Eventually Sophie insisted that she sing the song and point at us for the "bark bark" part. She changed the tune a bit, but wasn't concerned about getting it "right" and, really, her tune was just as good as the original. In the Missouri Music Curriculum there is a requirement that all students learn to follow the cues of a conductor. What a fun way to address that! Of course, I'm not suggesting that we adhere strictly to a set of standards--that tends to take the complexity and enjoyment out of musicing with children. Rather, think about what will be engaging musically and interpersonally and then, if you feel it's a must, look at the Grade Level Expectations and see what you've addressed through authentic musicing. Then, if there is something that was missed, creative elementary music or elementary classroom teachers can always take the same songs and repeat or explore them in new ways that will address the remaining standards.

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