Recent Blog Posts

Tuning Tips

  1. Tuning problems can be somewhat mysterious and can be caused by different issues. There will be no magic fix and it will probably take time and practice just like everything else.
    Some things to try:
  2. The stop/go sign works on inner listening. (When the sign says “go” they sing aloud. When it says, “stop” they sign silently, continuing to keep the steady beat.)
  3. Slow the song down, have them watch you and hold a note of your choice. Point to your ear to indicate listening.
  4. Mix them up in different ways; ask them to listen to the people beside them.
  5. Work on purifying the Ay, Ee, Ah, Oh, Oo vowels. I haven’t figured out exactly why, but it improves the tone so much.
  6. Have the whole class stand in a circle, hold and stagger breathe on the D an octave above middle C while you walk around listening to each one. That note gets them in their head voice and can be sung on a nice, light tone.
  7. Make sure they are not over signing. We teachers feel so good when they sing out but when they push the tone, it distorts.
  8. Have them cup a hand by their ear…this will help some students hear themselves better.
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Blending

I’ve had problems with several of my students sticking out, for different reasons:
1. Singer isn’t on pitch. Usually this is the case when a student hasn’t found his head voice so I work on that.
2. Singing louder than everyone else. If you have created a safe environment, you can probably tell someone gently (privately or even in the group setting, if they are not easily hurt) that you don’t need them as loud right there or tell the group to make sure they can hear those around them.
3. Strident voices. For some reason, two of my most talented boys stick out when they are on soprano even though it is fully within their vocal range. When I moved them to a lower harmony line, they blended in fine.
On Laudate Mennonite Ensemble this past fall, Ken worked on blend during warm up exercises. He’d have us all hum the melody line and walk around randomly while listening to others or stand in different voice groupings. I’m working on students mastering their part sufficiently that they can be independent, standing by people singing different parts. Moving singers around produces a beautiful, fuller sound.
I think singing with a straight tone is important for me personally to blend, but this probably isn’t an issue with school-age children.

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Worksheets and Written Work

Worksheets should be kept to a minimum, but they can be helpful on occasion for the teacher to assess what the students have mastered individually and as a group. They also can allow time for the teacher to meet students individually in the hall to check their range, pitch matching, or ability to sing a given tune. Some ideas for written work are for students to:
Write the rhythm of a given song under or inside hearts drawn on the handout.
Given a rhythmic line and meter, draw bar lines and write the subdivision, labeling form.
Write names of black and white notes on a paper piano keyboard.
Given ten hymn numbers, write the key, beginning melody note, and solfege of first note.
Write down hymn numbers written in a given key.

Websites for Worksheets
http://www.makingmusicfun.net/
http://learnmusictheory.net/fundamentals/index.asp
http://www.finalemusic.com/finale/features/educatortools/worksheets.aspx

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Introducing Level Two Music Education Resource Kit

• Level Two Music Education Resource Book
• 24 Lesson Plans Based on the Kodály Method
• Bible-centered for Christian Families and Schools

Get the Book and Instruction Kit for $175
(With Glad Voices Teacher’s Resource Book only: $42.95)

The kit includes all the following items:
With Glad Voices Teacher’s Resource Book (Ring Bound)
Set of Eight Curwen Hand Signs (9˝x 6˝)
Set of Ten Glissando Posters (12˝x 18˝)
Four Music Direction Hand Signs
Set of Thirty Heavy Cardstock Red Hearts (Magnetic)
Song Poster (17˝x 22˝)
Set of Twelve Song Cards (8.5˝x 8.5˝)
Mapping Paper
Four Mapping Markers
Two Form Books
Tone Ladder
I Sing the Mighty Power of God CD

Level Two Music Resource Book is written toward a Second grade level, but will be enjoyed up to the older levels if the students have had little prior study in the rudiments of music.

The music concepts included are a necessary foundation for a music student of any age, and the activities can be changed by creative teachers to suit the age level in their multi-grade classrooms. There is a 40 Song Collection in the back of the book which allows the teacher to adapt song choices in the lesson to the age level as well. The lesson plans are detailed enough for an uncertain music teacher to be able to teach with confidence and gladness.

There are 24 lessons. Each lesson contains melodic and rhythmic activities, along with learning independence in singing, disciplined listening, and inner hearing. Also included in the book are teaching ideas, reproducible worksheets, Rhythm Syllables Chart, musical games, Gathering songs, Name Songs and Exploration songs. Many of the materials suggested in the lessons are available here with the Resource
Book. If you need anything else, we are glad to check into ordering it for you.

Major Concepts in Level Two:
• to sing, inner hear, and create with pentatonic scale: Do, Re, Mi, Sol, La
• to notate with Do, Re, Mi, Sol, La
• to keep a steady beat while inner hearing, while singing, and while others sing.
• Mapping for early notation.
• to assign the rhythm syllables Ta, Ta-di, Ta-ki-da and Rest to the beat, half-beat, and silent beat in compound meter.
• to notate rhythm patterns of four beats using quarter note, eighth note, Triplets and rest.
• plotting L-S-M and D-R-M on the staff in C, F, or G
• to move with the phrases of a song
• to express the form of a song and its mood.
• to learn that lines and spaces indicate pitch, with line notes and space notes, through movement, handstaff, and visualization.
• pentatonic tone ladders… and more!

To place your order call Joseph Ebersole
Call: (717) 679-2390 • FAX (717) 866-7924
E-mail: listening@illustra-graphics.com

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Worksheets and Written Work

Worksheets should be kept to a minimum, but they can be helpful on occasion for the teacher to assess what the students have mastered individually. They also can allow time for the teacher to meet students individually in the hall to check their range, pitch matching, or ability to sing a given tune. Some ideas for written work are for students to:
Write the rhythm of a given song under or inside hearts drawn on the handout.
Given a rhythmic line and meter, draw bar lines and write the subdivision, labeling form.
Write names of black and white notes on a paper piano keyboard.
Given ten hymn numbers, write the key, beginning melody note, and solfege of first note.
Write down hymn numbers written in a given key.

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Teaching Tips

1. For larger classes of very young children (12 or more), it is helpful to have masking tape laid in a circle on the floor so that they can sit on the tape and be in a circle.
2. Time saver: when moving desks, the children can sing a song and predict how many times through the song it will take them until the task is completed.
3. The class should be fast-paced, alternating periods of concentration and relaxation (movement/fun). For example, a first grade sequence could be:
a. Enter with motions or object to go with the rhyme/song that will be used later for the game.
b. Rhythmic objective: rhythm/steady beat with movement
c. Show beat/rhythm written on board
d. Melodic objective: show so/mi on body
e. Demonstrate pitches written on board
f. Play game using the teaching song
g. Sing good-byes to individuals and/or groups to line up
h. Exit with entry song or rhyme
4. Use creative categories to line up: by clothes color, birth month, alphabetical names, etc.
5. Active listening: It is best if students have been introduced to a song before learning the game so they can join in the singing during the game. Some ways to encourage active listening so the teacher can teach a new song by rote are:
a. Students keep a steady beat, beat pattern, or ostinato
b. Students count how many….
1. times the song contains a given word (or two!)
2. beats are in the song
3. phrases are in the song
4. half notes or whole notes are in the song
5. high notes (do’) are in the song
c. Show a picture or pass around object to pique interest and/or discussion
d. Identify the form of the song
e. Students echo phrase by phrase (count breaths)
f. Omit words (students identify or agree ahead which words to omit)
g. Identify what word was sung on the highest or lowest note of the song (if there is just one)
h. Ask questions about the definition of certain words or discuss the song’s meaning
i. Stop/Go sign, Rhythm/beat sign
j. On board, use student pointers to indicate high/low (for rhymes), loud/soft (p/f), and fast/slow (allegro/moderato/andante/largo)

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Steps in Teaching Part Singing: Difficulty of Music

1.Unison, divide class into 2 groups. Only the group that the conductor directs toward sings. When the conductor directs toward the other group, that group sings at whatever point the other group left off. The entire class should be tapping a steady beat on their legs while they sing and while they don’t.
2.Melody with repeated ostinato: While one part sings the melody of “Jesus Loves Me,” another part repeats: “Jesus loves me” on “titi ta two” all sung on “do” then add another, “Je-sus loves me” on “ta ta ta ta” singing “so-mi-so-mi”.
3.Canon: One group starts and another echoes 2 or 4 beats later. This can be done on songs not traditionally sung as rounds. For this exercise, it’s OK if the harmony is dissonant at times. Try a 2-beat echo on “Jesus Loves Me.”
4.Follow teacher hand-signs: Both parts begin on do. T hand-sign group 2 up to “re”, then “mi”, and both parts hold out their notes and listen. Conductor moves each group independently with step-wise movement.
5.Melody with descant, words not sung at same time (“Silent Night”, “In Repentance and Rest”)
6.Melody with high tenor that parallels the words and notes of melody line (“I’ll Be List’ning”, “I Got Shoes”)
7.Melody with alto that has different rhythm (“Hide Thou Me”)
8.Two lower parts that parallel each other with descant (refrain of “The Music of Heaven” and “The Lord is My Light”)
9.Now the children are ready to sing traditional homophonic music (“How Can I Keep From Singing?”)

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A Resource for Teachers

This blog is written as a resource for music teachers of elementary school students, and is a ministry of Shenandoah Christian Music Camp.

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