Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Happy Canada Day!

Greetings from Canada, eh?  I'm actually in Canada right now on vacation with my family.  We are having a great time fishing, boating and enjoying each others company!  Today's post will be a short one. I just wanted to share that I am participating in a fun music teacher event for the start of July!  Special thanks to Amy Abbot from Music a la Abbot for putting this event together!

Today only, you can download nearly 40 FREE resources from TpT.  Go to the site and search July1stMusicFreedomFreebie or click here to be taken directly to all the FREE resources!

Also - check back on July 2 and 3rd for even more deals and steals!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Musical Road Trip - 2nd Stop!

Welcome to our 2nd stop on our Music Road Trip! Thank you Aileen for a great 1st destination at MrsMiracleMusicRoom!  For this stop we are still in Ohio, just a bit south of MrsMiraclesMusicRoom and will be talking about melody.

If you are a blogger and/or TpT seller, make sure to read the directions at the end of this post to link up a blog post and/or a melodic product for sale!

Teaching melodic concepts and skills has always been harder for me than teaching rhythm – maybe this is because melody is more abstract, maybe it is because it is harder for me as a musician, maybe it is for any other number of reasons.  I find myself revisiting my lesson plans, teaching procedure and resources more often than I do with all things rhythm.  Do you find certain concepts and skills harder to teach than others?  Do you know why?

The reason I ask why, is because once we figure out why something is challenging, we can better solve the problem.  In my personal refection, I find melodic elements must be experienced, initially, between the ears and for me personally, as a musician, that is just HARD! So I imagine that it is hard for my students as well.

What to do?  For me, digging into my lesson planning and using only the best song material, musical transitions, setting specific targeted expectations and assessments is key.  Here are some ideas that may help you too:

1.  Sing Sing Sing –Only the best song material is good enough for the students and they need to have lots and lots of opportunities to experience the music before they are expected to do anything with the elements included in each song.  I have found great ideas and reminders of things that I had forgotten about in bundles on TpT like this one from Aileen Miracle, Songs and Activities to Teach La.

2.  Make the melodic element known physically - Have the students feel that relationship between pitches is key.  The younger the student the bigger the motion needs to be.  I teach K-1-2 and we do a lot of body signs, showing the pitches with our body, moving manipulatives and showing contour.  As the students get older, add work with writing the notes with paper and pencil but also doing hand staff work, playing barred instruments and letting them create ways to show the contour.

3.  Make the melodic element known visually - There many ways to show your students melodic elements. This includes on the staff and with icons. One of the best 'discoveries' I made was when i started using a stair step diagram with my students. The picture shows a major scale, but you can put only the elements the students know -make sure to make the step smaller where the half steps occur.  

Another things that has made a difference in my teaching it to remember to show the students a couple of different ways to represent the melodic elements but also to be consistent in how you show them......using the same language is also key!

I love this set, Smitten with Melody, from Music a la Abbott because it uses stick notation with solfa and staff notation!  Students need to read both!

During the practice phase of each element, I do a lot of work with melody flashcards, both known and unknown patterns.  Newly released just today, is my Activities to Practice Melody Using Flashcards - on sale AND reduced by 25%!

4.  Aural Work - This may seem obvious, but remember that to really 'count' as working with a melodic element, you must do something to make that element conscious.  Just singing the song is not working with the melodic element.  Playing interactive whiteboard games has really shown me a great deal about the students abilities - and - they LOVE to play them!  One of my favorites is Cup of Cocoa Kod├íly Solfege and Rhythm Game: so mi by Malinda Phillips.  

5.  Just for Fun - Don't forget that while all of the planning, reflecting, planning again and teaching is important, so is having fun with your students! There are so many GREAT ideas out there that support their melodic development!  Dancing/Structured Movement, playing instruments, listening maps, listening glyphs (Jena Hudson at Sew Much Music has some awesome glyphs that my students have really enjoyed!) are just a few that my students have really really enjoyed! 

I hope you have enjoyed the second stop on our Music Road Trip!  Here is the itinerary for the rest of the journey!

If you are a blogger and/or music seller and want to link up, here are the directions:
  • Link up with a blog post specifically about melody/melodic concepts, AND/OR
  • Link up to a melodic product on safe for 25% off (you can leave it on sale until Sunday, June 17)
  • You can do either simply by clicking on the button below!
What are some of your favorite ways to teach melodic elements?  Feel free to comment below!  See you at our next stop!