I just recently co-taught an elementary class and it was quite interesting! I will answer some questions and provide some information on what the lesson was like.
1.What do you think was the favorite part of your lesson for the class?
I like how teaching the “Must Be Santa” song turned out. The kids really seemed to enjoy singing and moving around to the music. Because they enjoyed it, we enjoyed it as well.
2.What is one thing you would do differently if you taught the lesson again?
I might omit the beginning where I introduced them to the “Hello” song. There wasn’t that much time (only 30 minutes of class) and it caused the end to be slightly rushed.
Here is an outline of the lesson:
- Do the Hello song
- Introduce them to the French Horn
- Teach “Must Be Santa”
Walter, Arnold. Carl Orff’s Music for Children (1959). The Eclectic Curriculum in American Music Education. By Polly Carder. 157-160.
Arnold Walter, author of “Carl Orff’s Music for Children” (1959), describes the Carl Orff approach to teaching music to children.
- Walter attended recital at Guntherschule in Munich
- The recital consisted of dance and orchestra
- Students switched from orchestra to dance and vice versa
- Orchestra consisted of recorders, viols, bells, glockenspiels, xylophones, and every known kind of drum
- The music mixed styles of older flavors (14th c) with newer ones (Stravinsky)
- Rhythm was predominant, then melody, and then very few harmonization
- Recital directed by Carl Orff
- Musical development of children = growth of music history
- Rhythm precedes melody, melody precedes harmony
- Teaching a child “Minuet in G” will make him learn it mechanically
- Start with speech patterns
- Single words, phrases or nursery rhymes
- Use stamping, clapping, and then move to instruments
- Point is to be elementary and basic
- Melody is made to grow out of rhythm
- Slow and treated with “infinite care”
- Two notes are introduced, then three and four, finally five.
- Emphasis on pentatonic tunes
- Major and minor melodies are introduced as a final stage
- Rhythm patterns, melodies, and ostinato figures are used on the instruments mentioned earlier
- Instruments are carefully selected and contrasted
- Replicas of medieval ensembles
I have never heard of an approach to music education quite like this. It seems less methodical, yet more significant in foundational values, which is something that I think many schools would benefit from. As was referenced in this article; “Beauty is of value only when recreated by those who discover it.” (160)
Albertson, M. (2014). Music Educators Journal. Power to the People! Protest Music in the Classroom, 101 (1), 21-22.
Michael Albertson, author of “Power to the People!” (2014), explains his experience with implementing a “Modern American Protest Music” course for general music students.
- Class resembled an English class more than music
- Broken into three main units:
- Civil rights protest jazz of the 1940s-1960s
- Protest rock music of the 1960s and 1970s
- Antiestablishment genres from the 1980s – present
- Most days began with active listening that followed up to discussion
- Current events provided accessible starting points for students
- “Stop and Frisk” was a controversial policy that was discussed in class
- Students who rarely participated became more active and shared personal experiences
- Students were given a variety of options for the final project
- Developed essay
- Poetry and short self-reflection of artistic progress
- Petitions targeted at school policies
This reminds me of just how important it is to experiment with different teaching styles and strategies for an ever-changing student demographic. It really opened my eyes to the ingenuity that is required to be a successful and adaptive teacher.
“To see students exploring new ideas, making connections to their lives, and taking action – what more can we ask for as educators?” (22)
Waters, S. (2014). Music Educators Journal. Preserving the Past, preparing for the Future – A Look at Music Education in China, 101 (1), 25-27.
Sarah Waters discusses the ingenuity of the Chinese music education system in her article “A Look at Music Education in China” (2014).
- “Western” and “Chinese traditional” musical styles stressed
- Chinese orchestra arranged similarly to a Western orchestra
- In place of violins, the erhus
- A two-stringed instrument that sounds like a mix between a violin and a human voice
- Next to the erhus are Western-styled cellos and basses
- Middle of orchestra in front are the yangqins (dulcimers)
- Behind them are a guzbeng and a gugin
- At the conductor’s right is the ruan (lute) family
- Woodwinds consist of Chinese flutes and a lusbeng
- The lusbeng is a wind-blown organ to which the orchestra is tuned
- In the back row is the double-reed suona
- A wooden pipe with a brass bell that sounds like a mix between an oboe and a trumpet
- The percussion consists of Chinese traditional drums, wood blocks, gongs, and cymbals, along with all the standard Western ones
- The students she observed used a fixed-do system
- Some schools also teach with a number system
- Western instruments are put on par with Chinese traditional ancient musical tradition
- Healthy instructor/student ratio
- One large-group rehearsal had five instructors
- Students and teachers continue the oral tradition and method of teaching
This article boggled my mind with the thought of all of these different concepts coexisting to promote ancient musical traditions while incorporating new ideas and instruments. One could learn from the sheer genius and open-mindedness that the Chinese education system has to offer.
“From all indications, the Chinese musical heritage is alive and well.” (26)
“They will discover as I did, that kids are kids everywhere, and music can be our common language.” (27)
I’ve decided to add a lesson using the Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star song that gives a great example of solfege to kids! You can find it here (Twinkle Twinkle Little Solfege).