Thursday, 5 February 2015

First day of music

Today was the first day of my music programme with Rooms 9, 15 and 21.  For two weeks I have been retrieving and repairing instruments kept in storage for 4 - 5 years. Now it's all ready.  Each class stays with me for a full 90 minutes.

I offer a huge thank you to our principal, Ash Maindonald for making it possible to bring my music-making to our school.

I knew I was going to enjoy this new work but I was not prepared for what a rich experience this was going to be with the children.  I told all three classes today that being a music teacher feels like Christmas morning to me. It's exciting and full of surprise.  I hope I'll help children be artists - to savour and expand their musical environments.

Rm 15 explores dance shapes for Les Saluts (a French Canadian folk tune)

The work 

We started with the question: What do we need to respect in a music room? From this we built a dance to match the form and movement of the music. We bowed to the objects in the room, to our classmates (who responded with their own salut) and of course, the children all bowed to the teacher. And the teacher bowed to the wonderful children. 

Teacher and children dance
Matthew (Rm15) & Mr McLay accompany the dancers

Sasha (Rm 21) astounded and delighted me by saying that one thing we need to respect is the music! I observed this talented girl and she really soaked up the various instruments.  What an important idea to offer and she's only 9 years old!

Performing to others is part of music-making. So we also learnt how to be a member of an audience. We learnt that we do the following as an audience:

  • Attend - pay full attention and become absorbed in what the performers are presenting 
  • Allow - enable the performers to do the best they can without distraction
  • Applaud - acknowledge their effort and risk-taking of performing in front of peers
  • Appreciate - tell the performers something that was memorable about their performance

Source: James Harding

We also played with the six elements of music (more on that later) while the senior class explored the new instruments - marimba, drums and tuned percussion, and I nearly forgot, we opened a box of ukeleles that we will be able to play after Waitangi Weekend.

Children with wooden instruments

Children with wooden and metal instruments
Room 21 children play xylophones and metallophones

My special flute

The flute I am playing is a gift from my father's close friend Feri. He too is a musician who has inspired me my whole life. He gave me his flute long after my father died. When I play it, I am honouring Feri's and my father's gift of music to me and, as Sasha said, music itself.

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