Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mini Performances

I apologize for the poor video quality, but I wanted to post these two videos so you can get a glimpse of what Ben has been working on.  I will let Ben explain the rest!

March 7th signaled the end of my xylophone unit with my 3rd grade classes for the year. This year I chose to teach the xylophones using a variety of videos that I made on my computer. My aim was to teach kids specific vocabulary and content while giving them an opportunity to explore the instrument for themselves instead of mimicking my own moves to learn the songs. This was actually pretty successful as every kid by the end of the unit was able to play through each of the three parts shown in the videos individually. I chose them for their parts in the performance randomly. The video in the link was the only one I posted and it was extremely effective for teaching the melody. The other two parts I taught using print outs that the kids explored on their own in a given time period and then put together.

Things for me to remember the next time I teach this unit: 1) The bass part was an eighth note rhythm that alternated between the lower octave and the higher octave for each note played. Essentially the kids were playing C-C, D-D, E-E, G-G, but alternating between the low and the high. The bass instruments are big and so next time I will have the alto instruments play this part to make it more manageable for the kids. The altos had a straight quarter note rhythm playing four two note combinations repeated. This would have been excellent on the basses as the steady beat would have been more prominent and the speeding up may have been avoided. 2) The kids will always speed up. This is an unfortunate inevitability no matter how hard you work at it. It makes the eighth note rhythm that much more difficult too. 3) I will teach the basic eighth note rhythm (two hands playing octaves at the same time) instead of the alternating rhythm first. This will give me a chance to differentiate to the higher level for kids who can do it rather than trying have kids who have trouble managing the harder rhythm go to the easier (which they refused--good for them?)

I am very proud of my students in the 3rd grade. They consistently work hard during music lessons and have made extreme advances in many different areas this year. I plan to get them all more performance opportunities throughout the rest of the year because they really deserve to show off their work. -Ben 
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