Tuesday, October 28, 2014

MelodySoup Video Wednesday - Aaron Copland - Appalachian Spring

Here is a really great video that combines the beautiful music of Aaron Copland with choreography inspired by the ballet created by groundbreaking choreographer Martha Graham.     To view the original choreography click HERE.....I probably won't have time to show my students the entire thing,  but WOW! I sure did enjoy it and hopefully we'll at least be able to view the Theme and Variations section.  GREAT JOB University of Maryland!  Thanks for sharing! 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

10 modifications and accomodations for Recorder! - FREE DOWNLOADS

Playing recorder is rather complex and it is often an area where significant modifications and accommodations are needed in order to meet the instructional needs of ALL students.  Here is a quick list of the modifications and accommodations that I use most frequently. 

1.  Preferential Seating -   I can often make quick adjustments for those who need it, simply by making sure that they are close to me.  Sometimes this is as simple as pointing to music or being able to quietly repeat the instructions

2.  Recorder Buddies - I'll often have another student who is making good progress on recorder be a "mini-me".  They can sit next to the student in need and call out note names or model fingerings

3.  Time for independent practice - One of the best ways to keep students progressing without frustrating those who need more time is by using independent practice wisely.  I have a silent practice rule in my class.  I'll assign different groups different songs to practice.  Then they take turns playing in small groups out loud for the class.  This allows me to provide more support to those who need it. 

4.  Note Labeling - Generally I don't allow students to label the notes in their recorder books, but when a student needs the support, it can be very helpful and provide another avenue for practice. 

5.  Note name calling - Sometimes students can play at speed who might not be able to read at speed.  If I call the note names to those who need it, they can play what everyone else can play.

6.  Finger modeling - Sometimes I will model the correct finger positions during a particular song which allows students see what to do instead of worrying about reading it.   I use this sparingly.  I want them to continue to develop literacy, but if they don't get to "play" they might give up, so it's important that they develop sound as well s literacy. 

7.  Letter reading - Often students who cannot read traditional music notation have no problem reading letters.  If you use "letter notation" you can get them to progress pretty far along.  Dashes can be used to determine the length of the note and rests can be incorporated as needed. 

8.  Big is often better - I have enlarged copies of the book we use because for so many students, simply making the print larger enables them to read real notation.  This works really well in tandem with my projector.

9.  Personalized music - Sometimes I create music just for specific children in mind.  This is especially useful if there is a para-professional who travels with the student as they can work with the student who has a personalized book side by side with the class. 

10.  Alternate instruments - Sometimes in order to accommodate for the physical limitations, you can use alternate instruments.  All soprano recorder music can be easily changed to xylophone.  There are even recorders designed for children with at least 6 fingers that can be adjusted to fit their abilities. 

Here is a link to the adaptive recorder


FREE Downloadable Rhythm Cards

Last year I made some of these rhythm cards to use as manipulatives for a meter unit. 

Now, a year later I have expanded the collection and use them constantly for all sorts of assignments. 

My favorite thing to is to give my students combinations of these cards including the new rhythm we are learning that day. 

First students work with a partner to create a chart of the rhythms they already know.  This chart reinforces the relationships between the various notes and gives them a chance for a quick review before moving on to new material.  This is also a great way for me to quickly assess where we are.   

I then give my students the new rhythms and ask them to compose measures containing the new material. 

I typically provide enough cards for them to compose 4 measures of rhythm.  As the measures are completed, the students are asked to perform the rhythms they have composed.  Everyone then travels from group to group in a sort of "gallery walk".  The students perform the rhythms as composed by their peers. 

Once we have read and performed each composition I ask the students to go back and choose their two favorite measures.  They share their two favorites with a neighboring group and work together to perform the new combination. 

Finally, the students are asked to choose their favorite measure and then ALL of the rhythms are set out so that we have a new class composition. 

If you want to print them, I recommend using a variety of card stock.  If you laminate them they will last for a long time.  I also put magnets on a set for myself so that I can use them as models on the board. 

quarter notes, quarter rests, barred eighth notes, half notes, half rests

single eighth notes and dotted quarter notes

sixteenth notes and sixteenth note combinations

whole notes, whole rests, dotted half notes  - must be printed on 17x11 paper!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Redesign underway

I am midway through a redesign - so if my blog looks a little whacky that's the reason, I'm cleaning things up, and putting things aright. Soon all of my elements should be working properly again.  Thanks for the patience.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Youtube Saturday! - Cool Videos for music teachers

Here is a really cool video that wanted to share.   It is a video of stunning beauty featuring a Ehru concerto.  The orchestra consists primarily of Chinese instruments and MOST of the instruments I've never seen before.  I only knew a couple of them.... Mostly I just wanted to share the video because it is excellent, but if you decide to show  this to students don't forget to use http://safeshare.tv/ 

Safeshare.tv a great site that allows you to view videos safely without all of the advertisements and suggested videos.  Additionally, you can cut mark your start and stops and create a hyperlink using only the portion that you choose. 

But since it's Saturday and we've got time, relax while you enjoy this GREAT piece! 

Here is the video embedded directly from youtube which is fine for you and me.