As children come to learn more and more about how music is put together, they will begin to have new ears to hear any music. They add critical thinking skills to their musical experiences and will enjoy many kinds of music. They also come to understand and love music as they have hands on experiences creating their own music. They can have that experience through private lessons or by just doing some of the fun lessons that I will share.

The lessons will center on the Elements of Music: Beat, Rhythm, Style, Melody, Expression, Form, Timbre, Harmony, and Texture. You can watch as children become confidant at discussing these elements and hearing them in the music they listen to each day. They will enjoy using these elements to create their own music.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Carnival of the Animals Day 2

Today we want to make a connection between what the music actually does, how it sounds, and how it is played to the animals that it is describing.  So the children will each get a packet of cards that has a picture of each animal.  The cards will remind them of the animals in the music they listened to yesterday.

With very young children, you may want to have them choose two or three cards at a time so that there are not so many choices.  So let's say that you choose the turtle, the kangaroo, and the aquarium.  Take time before you listen to the music for each animal to predict what the music will do.  Which music will be the slowest? Which animal moves the slowest of all three?  Which moves the fastest?  Which music might sound like hopping?  What will the fish in the aquarium be doing?  What will that sound like?  Ask any questions you like to get their minds thinking.  Then as you play each piece of music, they will be able to identify the correct animal because they have already been predicting what it will sound like.

Do this same exercise with three more of the songs and cards.  Choose animals where the differences will be pretty obvious.

Now for the next set of cards, let the children ask the questions.  Choose three animals and invite them to ask you what to listen for.  They will be able to do that.

And then for the final group of pictures, ask the children to think their questions in their head and then to think the answers. You are teaching them strategies that they can use in many situations.

With older children you could easily do half of the cards with the questions and then end with them thinking their own questions and answers in their head before you play the last pieces of music.

It is a great exercise and will help them on Day 3 when you play the game called "I See It".

Here are the animal pictures - 4 to a page.  Print on cardstock and cut them out.  Laminate if they will be used often.

Remember how I said that Saint Saens was having fun when he wrote this music.  There are three pieces in particular that are actually funny and the kids can learn to recognize what this composer did.

1.  The Tortoise - the melody for the Tortoise is the Can Can - played very, very slowly.  Young children may or may not have heard the Can Can.  Here is a funny You Tube versions they would enjoy.  It's a wedding and the bride and guest are all dancing to the Can Can.  Just a minute will be enough for the kids.  Once they see the fun of the Can Can itself, they will laugh to think the Tortoise is doing this same music!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sc4NoFZUZkA

2.  The Pianists - the piano plays some very beautiful music throughout the Carnival of the Animals.  But when this particular piece comes along, the pianists are practicing their scales!

3.  The Fossils - Now we need the sound of bones so the composer adds a xylophones.  Everyone who has ever done an animation for this piece has this being played on the bones of a skeleton!  Cute idea!

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