Music Pitch: High Sounds & Low Sounds

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The following lesson on music pitch is suitable for KS1 and maybe KS2 if they have no exposure to it at all.

I started off giving students a vocal experience by teaching them the Rent chant. I have modified some of the words to make it rhyme better.

 

Villain[low voice]: You must pay the rent! You must pay the rent! You must pay the rent today!

Lady[high voice]: I can’t pay the rent~ I can’t pay the rent~ I can’t pay the rent today!

Villain[low voice]: You must pay the rent! You must pay the rent! You must pay the rent today!

Lady[high voice]: I can’t pay the rent~ I can’t pay the rent~ I can’t pay the rent today!

Hero: I’ll pay the rent! I’ll pay the rent!

Lady[high voice]: My hero!

Villain[low voice]: Oh no…

While doing this chant, you can use your hands to form a ribbon or you can make a paper ribbon to go with it.

Reference: https://www.wikihow.com/images/2/2b/Make-a-Paper-Bow-Step-4.jpg

The kids really do get tickled by this as they get so amused with the teacher’s fluctuating voice pitch.

Discuss with students what happens to the voice at this point when acting out the different characters.

After which, I proceed to tell them another story about Mr Brown and Mr Green. I have modified such that the story can be told in beat or like a rhyme.

Mr Brown & Mr Green are very good friends.

They live on a big, high hill.

 

One day, Mr Brown decided to go visit his friend Mr Green.

He opened his door & popped out his head & close his door again.

He went up & down & up & down until he reached Mr Green’s house.

He knocked once (knock), he knocked twice!

But no one was at home.

So, he went up & down & up & down until he reached his home.

He opened his door & popped in his head & close his door again.

 

Next day, Mr Green decided to go visit his friend Mr Brown.

He opened his door & popped out his head & close his door again.

He went up & down & up & down until he reached Mr Brown’s house.

He knocked once (knock), he knocked twice!

But no one was at home.

So, he went up & down & up & down until he reached his home.

He opened his door & popped in his head & close his door again.

 

 

The very next day, at the very same time, they both decided to visit again.

So, they open their doors & popped out their heads & close their doors again.

They went up & down & up & down until they finally met!

They happily talked, talked and talked until it’s time to go.

They waved each other goodbye (Goodbye!) and then they parted their ways.

They went up & down & up & down until they reached their homes.

They opened their doors & popped in their heads in & close their doors again. The End.

Refer to reference 1 for the actions with hands and it gets more interesting when using xylophones or keyboards.

To continue the story of the the friends travelling up and down the hill. I taught the students to sing “Someone Standing”. Also available in Reference 1.

To include some Orff elements and to introduce Mi-So-La solfeges, I taught the students the following ostinato.

It relates to the story of the song and chant and hopefully it will encourage students to learn improvising Mi-So-La later on.

As a performance, during the storytelling, a bass ostinato can be played in the background. At the same time students play up and down the keyboards/xylophone. After the chanting, they can start singing “Someone Standing”, continued with the melodic ostinato and improvise their voices on Mi-So-La.

References:

  1. http://caldwellorganizedchaos.blogspot.my/2016/01/teacher-tuesday-teaching-high-and-low.html
  2. http://www.cengage.com/resource_uploads/learning_module_downloads/1435400127_54154_media.pdf
  3. https://lavenderluz.com/2007/07/worlds-shortest-and-most-often-performed-play-2.html

 

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On Screen Piano Tutorial: Count On Me

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The newly updated iOS 11 on iPad is a much wanted feature and I think many music educators can celebrate it.

Due to the chords topic for my KS3 students, I needed a good recording style for piano tutorial. This feature has helped a lot in doing so. I further recorded my voice when I put the video together on the iPad’s iMovie. It’s basic and limited in iMovie but it works.

Music Game: What’s the Time, Mr Wolf?

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I learned this game from the Wee Sing series. It only came with instructions on how to play.

Pick a student to be Mr Wolf and the other students will be the farm animals. Place Mr Wolf and the farm animals on opposite ends of the room. The farm animals will approach Mr Wolf by asking asking, “What’s the time, Mr Wolf?”. Mr Wolf will reply, “It’s ____ o’clock”. As the farm animals get near enough, Mr Wolf can reply “It’s dinner time!” and he/she will give chase and the farm animals will try to run back to their home base. The caught animal will have to stay at Mr Wolf’s home base or he/she can be the next Mr/Miss Wolf.

My students love this game very much especially those from early years to Year 3. To make it more fun and to encourage the students to sing, I wrote this little ditty that goes along with this game.

Download pdf link:  https://www.dropbox.com/s/7h1ytffthw0d7xs/What%27s%20the%20time%2C%20Mr%20Wolf.png?dl=0

 

Edu Tech Tools: Canva

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Pushing boundaries in the area of technology has always been a thing for me.

I’ve been Windows user for almost my entire life up until I was introduced to OS in the early 2000s. I got to know more about iOS when I was studying my degree in 2013 ’cause I started using iPad’s Garage Band for my coursework.

Currently, I’m using OS/iOS at my workplace and Windows home.

It’s a PAIN

It has its pros and cons.

What I love to do on Windows, I can’t do it on OS —> specifically my love for Sibelius as a music notation software.

What I love to do on OS/iOS, I can’t do it on Windows —> this is very true when it comes to Garage Band. To me, it’s still the best software/app ever for recording and I have invested quite a bit of hardware for it too.

Note: The Airdrop function by Apple is a real game changer in tech tools and it’s SO useful in my field of work. I can transfer files I did on iOS to OS so easily and so painlessly. All you need is a good Wifi connection.

Among all things, the invention of cloud storage, e.g. Google Drive, Dropbox has made it very easy to work on documents on either platforms.

To cut my grandmother story short, I have learned to live with both. It has not been easy but I try to make things work.

Currently, I’m tasked to create the school’s yearbook. It’s one year responsibility but okay, I’ll do it. I needed something that would really help ease the process of editing, designing and data compilation. Most of all, something that doesn’t make me crack in the design area; I can be musical but I’m no visual artist.

Google search led me to this very neat online platform called Canva

I can’t say I’ve done a lot of searching but hands down, I think it’s one of the best publishing and editing sites ever.


Photo of the Remarkables mountain range in Queenstown, New Zealand.

I have to say though, the interface is pretty. It’s very simple to use and the editing tools are the icing for me; they’re so fun!!!


Photo of the Remarkables mountain range in Queenstown, New Zealand.

Photo of the Remarkables mountain range in Queenstown, New Zealand.

I wish I can share some of my initial work but it’s WORK.

Perhaps I’ll create a photo album of some sort. It would be really nice!

Canva exports files in pdf form. Perhaps it’s a down side. I’m not too sure myself but there are online converters for pdf to jpeg if the need ever arises.

 

 

Fingerplay: 手指变变变 [shou zhi bian bian bian]

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It has always skipped my mind to introduce non-English songs to my young learners.

Quite awhile back I had visited a music shop in a very unusual place on mainland Penang. It’s in the area that locals like to call Autocity. So there was this shop selling instruments for a relative low price and they also offered music books and accessories. I chanced upon this Mandarin book and it was the only copy left. It’s titled 幼儿音乐游戏 and in this book there were 100 suggested songs and games. The publisher is 时代出版传媒股份有限公司. It comes with a CD too. I never got a round to opening the CD as the iMac does not have a CD drive that I could use. I decided to make a video from scratch. I’d like to say I’m not too proud of my own singing voice but I decided to give it a go.

This song that I recorded is a finger play activity and it teaches young learners to use their fingers to create animal figures. If a non-native speaker comes across this video, I hope the basic translation helps.

In the face of little time: Teaching and learning BAG notes on the Recorder instrument

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I’ve been teaching the recorder instrument for a couple of years now and every time I conduct the lessons, there’ always something new to learn.

Recently, I had a situation where I needed to prepare a short performance for our Malaysia Day celebration. It was really short notice and I was wondering how I could possibly get a group of students to sing a patriotic song. It was a little daunting too as I had only less than 5 days to do so.

After much thought, I decided that I would put my beginner recorder students on fast track. They would learn to play their first 3 notes on the recorder by accompanying a patriotic song.

As fast I possibly could, I created the following video in hopes of helping my students learn faster. I have to admit that I did not like the subtitle layout on iMovie. It’s quite frustrating because of the way it appears and I have no control of it.

I used my phone to record the video while the sound is recorded into the iPad GarageBand app. After much transferring of files, I created the iMovie project on the Mac with a split screen. I did not make the lyrics video and took it for somewhere else. Note that I credit the use of the video in the Youtube info box. The result is quite satisfying if not for the subtitle.

The name of the patriotic song is Keranamu Malaysia and it’s a very old but popular song back in year 2000 and it was frequently used until year 2006. Til today, it’s still a classic and it’s easy for beginners to follow along.

This is the score sheet that I use for my beginners: https://www.dropbox.com/s/mvxct82apev03gr/keranamu%20pdf%202.pdf?dl=0

 

Recognizing tonality: Major and minor chords

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This academic year I attempt to teach difficult topics that I have not done before. With such limited time that I have with my KS3 students (40 minutes and less than that a week!), I plan to use the little time that I have very wisely.

I’ve been exploring and still continuing to do so in expanding my repertoire of lesson materials in terms of technology use. It can be quite tricky to use free apps and sites to teach music as most of the time, the usage can be quite limited.

I used Kahoot to teach about rhythm values and symbols but I toyed with the idea of using it as a listening test tool. It was quite tedious as I had to record chords on iMovie and uploaded the sound as a video file on Youtube. Nonetheless, it gets the job done as Kahoot only accepts videos or images.

This Kahoot features 10 questions, each having its own video link on Youtube. The chords are played twice each time and at an appropriate speed. Each video lasts approximately 8 seconds whereas students get to answer it in 10 seconds.

Tonality Gym 1: https://play.kahoot.it/#/k/37b93356-20d9-4d9e-9f02-2287255a68b6

I decided that one quiz was not going to be enough, so, I made two! The second Kahoot features lesser answer time; 5 seconds. It’s meant to be more challenging!

Tonality Gym 2: https://play.kahoot.it/#/k/fbb45b82-64ad-455c-aa2c-275f76d3f6f6

I have yet to try these Kahoots out but I do hope to report a swell time that we will have in class.


Wait a minute!

I’m happy to share that I created a new Youtube channel dedicated to all my educational material. I hope that it would be an awesome collection and resource.

Ms Cherylyn’s Music Education Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxF4-7r8TAx0QPlJsz_Hujw