Category Archives: Lesson Plans

Get Them Listening!

We are surrounded with sound all day every day.  But are our students actually listening?  Every teacher in your school would like to have students in their classes that are better listeners.  Here are some ways that music teachers can really help the students improve their listening skills.

Make students more aware of sounds in their environment.  The first activity in the Listening Resource Kit 1 is listening to sounds around us and identifying them.  This activity is now a movie at www.musicplayonline.com.  (The Listening menu is on the left-hand tool bar, and this movie is in Kit 1)  The movie is only 90 seconds long.  Students hear five sounds and they point to the sound they hear.  The answers follow.Sounds Around Us

Follow this actitvity with a classroom listening exercise.  Have them close their eyes for 30 seconds, then write down all the sounds that they can hear in the classroom. 

I do a lesson on long and short sounds with preK – Gr. 2 using unpitched instruments.  Play a sound on a  finger cymbal and then play a sound on rhythm sticks.  Ask the students which instrument made the short sound and which made the long sound.  The finger cymbals produce a sound that sustains for a long time!  Ask the children to close their eyes, and tell them not to open their eyes up until the sound of the finger cymbal has disappeared.  Play the finger cymbal and watch to see how long your students keep their eyes closed.   

There are 4 additional “sound” identification movies at musicplayonline.com.  These are:

What Keeps a Beat, Fast/Slow, Loud/Quiet and High/Low.  After watching these movies, start a classroom list of sounds that keep a beat and sounds that are fast/slow etc.  Give the students a homework assignment.  Ask them to listen at home for sounds that keep a beat and add them to your list the next time you see them.  My little ones in PreK don’t fully understand these concepts, especially high/low, even after 10 lessons.  Revisit this often so that all your students understand these basic concepts.

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Another resource that will help your students be more aware of sounds around them, is the first of the So-me stories by Stuart Manins – So-Me Goes Missing.  In this story, the main character, So-me, can’t be found.  His mother, father and brother look for him all around the house and the neighbourhood, but he can’t be found.  As they look, they hear many sounds such as a clock ticking, a dripping tap, the wind in the leaves, and a fly caught in a spider’s web.  In the end, So-me wasn’t lost at all – he was laying behind the couch with headphones on listening to music.

So-me 2

Stuart Manins has very graciously given permission to post movies of the So-me stories on www.musicplayonline.com.  We’ll be posting the movies in the Listening section next week.  If you prefer to have a print copy of the stories (and they really are a treasure) we still have them available.  Go to musicplay.ca, then scroll down the left menu until you see Storybooks.

We are still doing final edits to the Listening Kit 1 movies that are on musicplayonline.com, but the 41 listening selections that are posted provide you with a wealth of listening activities to use with PreK – Grade 3.  For each selection there are 1-7 movies:  Listening Map, Composer, Movement, Play Along and Kids Demos.  All movements from Carnival of the Animals, the themes from Peter and the Wolf AND the entire story, and 12 additional selections by Mozart, Handel, Chopin and more!  The movies teach and reinforce many concepts.  One of my favorites is “Galliard Battaglia” that teaches call and response using finger puppets!  Enjoy using these movies at www.musicplayonline.com and get your student’s listening!

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Ostinato Lesson using Musicplayonline.com

 I’ve been doing a music residency with a grade 1 and 3 class at Grandview Elementary in Red Deer for the past week.  I’ve seen the children every day for 35-45 minutes, and have had an amazing time with them!  One of the lessons that went really well was a lesson on ostinato using the singing game, Musicplay 3, #6 Plainsies Clapsies.  

 I taught the song by rote.  This is a traditional ball bouncing game, but to make it a little more useable in the grade 3 classroom, we did the moves with beanbags.  We played the game the way Leise Warner from Ontario showed me. 

Plainsies: toss beanbag and catch
Clapsies: toss, clap and catch
Twirl about: Toss, do arm rolls and catch
To backsies: toss, touch both shoulders and catch
Right hand: toss and catch with right hand
Left hand: toss and catch with left hand
Toss it high: toss higher in air and catch
Toss it low: toss low and catch
Touch your knees: toss, touch your knees and catch
Touch your toes: toss, touch your toes and catch
Touch your heels: toss, touch your heels and catch
And under you go: toss under your leg and catch it

The students were excited to try out the moves themselves!  The first day there were just a few students who were able to do all the moves, but by the second day, most were successful.  On the second day, we tried several of the ostinato patterns on the slide, chose one of them, and decided on body percussion.

This activity will be an interactive activity at www.musicplayonline.com

The students chose Run!  Run away!  and decided on this body percusion:  pat rest clap clap clap for it.  We decided to do the ostinato twice, then the ostinato with the song, then the ostinato twice.  They were very successful!  (Videos will be posted soon on www.musicplayonline.com)

We discussed what the form of their composition was.  Ostinato 2x  – ostinato+song – Ostinato 2x  I used the form tool at www.musicplayonline.com (on the left hand menu) to illustrate the form.

In the next few lessons they perfected the game, and used the song to practice reading and writing and creating with la-so-mi and ta ti-ti.

 This is one of the lessons that I’ll be sharing at the Artie and Denise workshop in Chicago!

 July 6-8, 2016

Artie and Denise are Shakin it up in Chicago!   Join Artie and Denise for the 7th annual summer symposium!  Two days of fabulous workshops and a day of sightseeing.

Register Online    Click this LINK

 Musicplayonline.com

This amazing site is free to use until August 1st, and will be a low cost subscription after that.  Our programmer now has the games fully accessible by iPhone or iPad!  The entire site can now be utilized by devices.  We are currently working on the Listening section, and will have some wonderful listening movies posted next week, including Carnival of the Animals!

 What’s on the site?
Musicplay K-6 song movies:  notation, lyrics, kids demos (700+ songs)
* Interactive Form Tool is now online – left hand menu!
* Recorder Resource 1-2 are available on the site!
* The Easy Ukulele unit and Easy Guitar Songs are online!
* Beat and Rhythm interactive activities for Snail Snail, Follow Me, Cuckoo, Rain Rain, See Saw, Walk to School, Pumpkin Fat, Teddy Bear, Curly Joe, Old Mother Brown, Little Airplane, Kangaroo, Tisket a Tasket, Burnie Bee, Four in a Boat, Bubble Gum, Easter Bunny, Old Mr Rabbit, on a Log, Scie le Bois, Los Pollitos, Naughty Kitty Cat, The Mill.  These are amazing interactive tools!
* Ask Me take home printables for songs in Musicplay for Kindergarten.
* Xylophone and Metallophone with removable bars     – search engine
* Solfa practice movies   – rhythm practice movies (Like flashcards, but made into movies!)
Solfa challenge for all reading songs – name the solfa notes OR letter names
* high/low, loud/quiet, fast/slow, etc games
* pop quizzes to practice note names, dynamics terms/symbols, tempo terms, Fun!

 LINK TO MUSICPLAYONLINE.COM

Winter Rhythms Lesson Plan

Target Concept:   – notate the rhythm of the words

Grade Level:  Grades 2-5

In this activity, the students sort the words into the rhythm that they match. This is a great way to have them begin notation of their own poems and songs.  Have them add some words of their own.  I think I should have added cough, cold and flu to the list!  Try to steer them away from words that use a pickup or anacrusis, as these are more difficult to notate correctly.  (eg.  Diwali)

When the students have sorted all the words into the correct rhythm column, alone or in groups, they should choose 4 or 8 of the words and create a word chain with them.  They could say the word chain, and add rhythm instruments to create sound effects, or they could play the word chain on the instruments.  I like it when the students say it once, and then play and say it.

You could create a theme to introduce the word chain compositions:   Winter time is snowman time, Winter time is fun.  (ss mm ss m, ss mr d)  Then, have each student or pair of students perform their word chain as a variation.

If you teach elementary music, get information on the Musicplay K-6 curriculum at www.musicplay.ca.

Winter rhythms