Music Enrichment

Joelle Arnhold, Music Enrichment Guide

Lower Elementary

This semester will be divided into two sections, a Boomwhacker session and a Melodica session. The Redbuds will begin with boomwhackers, while the Mulberries do melodicas, and then switch mid-semester. We hope to end each session with a 5-10 minute performance for Children’s House classrooms. The repertoire will eventually settle around each class’ particular interests and strengths, but I will aim to include some nursery rhyme or folk song which Children’s House will recognize.

For each session, the core competencies emphasized are: pulse, rhythm, pitch audiation.  The Boomwhacker session develops these competencies in an ensemble setting (an additional competency of teamwork), and the Melodica session will focus on solo playing (an additional competency of individual performance accountability).

Upper Elementary

This semester UE will write their own songs. One group plans to write one class song, and the other has voted to write songs in small groups of 2-3 people. To prepare this project, we will spend some time listening to and discussing a combination of western art and pop music. The learning outcomes of this preliminary song study will be:

1) obtain technical vocabulary to name standard song forms (strophic, vs different variations of binary or ternary forms);
2) gain exposure to the concept of ‘text painting’ (reflecting the narrative of the words in the music) and how different composers do this.
Other musical activities and exercises will support these two outcomes, for example, we will spend time on keyboards to learn about intervals, and what makes a ‘sad’ or ‘happy’ sound.  Currently, we are gaining note-reading fluency in treble clef, while learning about musical ‘codes’ and ‘mottos’; small groups of notes which have special extra-musical meaning (ex. B-A-C-H [in German B-natural is H] in Bach’s final Art of Fugue).

Adolescent Community

During the first five weeks of this semester, the Adolescents are preparing a short boomwhacker recital program which we will share with the Pickersgill Retirement Community on February 6th.  The program includes a minimalistic pentatonic piece called “Drum Crazy,” an arrangement of the Bob Marley piece “Three Little Birds,” and “Pop Goes the Weasel,” which will include an interactive component in which the residence will also participate.  Boomwhackers require a lot of individual accountability, as well as teamwork and patience, as each musician is in control of only two or three pitches of each phrase.