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March 21, 2017

31 Days of Rhythm: Drumming Playalong to Wavin' Flag

*This is a repost of a blog that I posted on my old website on April 22, 2013.  This is why STAAR dates, etc. do not line up with this year.  It's okay.  This is good stuff here...*

Summer is coming SOON and we are about to embark on our last round of STAAR testing.  The kids are antsy.  So are the teachers.  So, what better to do than drum?

Last week, my 3rd-5th grade classes started doing various World Music Drumming exercises along with a really cool drum playalong that I made up to go with the song, "Wavin' Flag."  If you would like to use it with your kids, go ahead.  However, if you choose to share it with others, please give me credit. :)

In listening to the recording you will hear this form:   Intro /A/ transition /B...

For further guidance, here are some cues for each section:

Intro: This is obvious.  It is short.
A: Begins with "Ohhh Ohhh Oh Ooo Ohhhh Ohhh Ohhh Oh"
Transition: Begins with "Singing forever young..."
B: Begins with "When I get older..."

Here's what you play:

A:    TOP SIDE SIDE SIDE :||    The rhythm is | | | | .  You can say "boom click click click" as a guide or even just say "top side side side."
(Top of drum and sides of drum, with your hands OR sticks.  Sticks are always better!)

Transition: Click sticks in the air on the upbeats.

B: TOP TOP CLICK REST:||    The rhythm is | | | z  .  This will sound like the playalong to "We Will Rock You."

You do NOT need drumsticks to play this!  I only have the students use sticks on my Remo tubanos.  Our djembes, doumbeks, etc. have too thin of a drum head to tolerate sticks, so those students use their hands and slap the sides of their drum or clap their hands in the air.  It should be the same motions, just with sticks or no sticks.  Then, allow the students a chance to switch so that everyone gets to experience using the sticks.

The version of Wavin' Flag that works best is "Wavin' Flag (Coca-Cola Celebration Mix)."


March 8, 2017

Rhythm Reading on the Move

Welcome!  It is my turn to blog for the Music Education Blogs 31 Days of Rhythm!  In honor of MIOSM (Music In Our Schools Month), a group of brilliant music teachers has come together to share 31 days worth of rhythmic goodies.  Here we are on Day 8.  So, let's get started!

When it comes to rhythm (okay, so when it comes to ANYTHING) I am all about movement!  And I am also pretty passionate about my students being rhythmically literate by the end of elementary school.  Sure, total music literacy is the goal, but rhythmic literacy is, in my opinion, the most transferable skill when it comes to students moving on to other areas of music study once they leave elementary school.  Tuneful singing and a love of music is my biggest goal, but whether you will be in choir, band or orchestra (which is my goal for all departing 5th graders) rhythm reading stays the most constant amongst the musical disciplines.

When it is time to read layered rhythms, students can become overwhelmed. You know the feeling!  "Mrs. Chandler!  It is so hard to concentrate on my own rhythm because I can HEAR OTHER PEOPLE and I am getting distracted!  Eek!".  Yes, this is challenging.  So, let's make it fun and motivating.  And, because it's me, let's make the lesson be one where we move, move, move!

This activity is best described in person, so I have made a video to tell you about the activity and its many expansions, followed by footage of real students in my classroom trying the activity for the first time ever.

This group of students is in 3rd grade.  They are currently reading sixteenth notes with ease, but for this activity, I limited it to quarter note, paired eighth notes, half notes and quarter rests.  As I explain in the video, I keep the actual rhythms simple.  The focus is on the layering of rhythms and the traveling from rhythm to rhythm using a steady beat.  There are SO MANY variations of this activity, which I explain in my video, but the demonstration is a short clip of the activity in its most basic (and very real, authentic, first-try-form).

Here is the video.  I hope that you enjoy it and I encourage you to leave comments and questions!  Please feel free to try this activity and send me feedback about how it worked in your classroom.  I would be THRILLED if you were to include a video of your students trying the activity.  You can do this!