Thursday, August 4, 2016

Hello Everyone!  I hope you're enjoying your last few weeks of summer.

I am transitioning into "oh yeah, school is starting" mode as we speak.  I decided to share an activity I do with the song "Mrs. Macaroni" that is really appropriate and fun for the beginning of the year (I suggest grades 2 and 3).

 To begin, I play the tune of the song on the piano and invite students to learn as many names as they can (walking around talking) while I play.  At the end of the song, I have them "log" the names into their brains (its so cute to see them looking around at each other, trying to remember).  We repeat this about two more times.  Then, I show them the lyrics slide and sing the song for them.  Secondly, I have them "sing" without making sound as I sing (lips moving).  Lastly, they sing the song without me but with the help of the piano (by then they've heard the tune at least five times).  I congratulate them on already being independent singers from day one!

Next, I show them the real music.  This is such a teaching point.  We discuss things we learned in prior years (most can chant the rhythm, many can identify specific patterns and pitches).  We discuss that there are still more things to learn (this is a real "hey, you're still responsible for this information" kind of moment and can help you judge who retained what without taking too much time).

 I then show them how we will substitute "Susie" for other names in the class (C - C - C for Carlos).  Students love volunteering or I even bring in famous names (D - D - D for Darth Vader).

Once this is established, I complete the movement activity listed here (it is very sequential and works well - you get the kids up and moving on the first day, interacting and having fun, but it is controlled and purposeful).  And I love looking totally silly riding around on the hobby horse, sometimes I even throw on a cowboy hat, haha.

Note: be very very careful with tempo - it is fun to speed up the song and see them try to trot along - but don't go too fast at first or its just a mess!

Last (or on a subsequent lesson), I add the instrumentation.
Note: Pitches with a " (For example, C") are the higher pitch on the instrument. 

I hope this helps your back-to-school plans!  Enjoy!