Art of Teaching Children Music-Lakeshore Zebras Reading

The Lakeshore Zebras Reading Assignment

  1. What kinds of musicking were going on in this environment? What did the children’s play look like and sound like? What “I can” statements might a teacher write after observing the children’s musical skills?:

Most of the musicking that was going on throughout the children’s play was in casual phrases children said to one another that they just added pitch and rhythm to. I think this is so interesting. There were definitely times when some of the children would specifically sing a song, like when Sarah and Clara were playing with the raccoon stuffed animal. In this instance these children sang a song from Pocahontas, connecting some previous knowledge to the play at hand. This said, most of the time children would simply be communicating with each other, saying things that could simply be spoken to one another, but for some reason or other they would sing it, adding elements of pitch and rhythm. One “I can” statement a teacher could write could be, “I can sing different intervals, such as 2nds, 3rds, 5ths, and octaves.” Another could be, “I can sing a variety of rhythms such as quarter notes, eighth notes, and dotted rhythms.” Finally, another example of an “I can” statement that would apply to these children’s play could be, “I can creat my own songs for expressing my thoughts.”

  1. After reading about the Lakeshore Zebras’ informal musical experiences, how might you create formal (teacher-facilitated) musical experiences with and for children in this age group (3-5 yrs.)?:

This is a really good question, and a hard one. I have thought a lot about this because using children’s musical experiences as a base for their music education is very important to me, but it can be challenging to figure out how to do this. One means of doing this that I often utilize is by using music that is familiar to them. I value the use of pop music or other music familiar to the students in the classroom. By using such music the children already know how it goes and then I can build their knowledge based from what they already know. Most of my teaching experience has been in a strings setting, and I have found that teaching “advanced” rhythms through familiar music is incredibly successful because the students know the sound and feel of the rhythm and so then adding what it looks like is not a big deal at all. As far as adding children’s own music experiences that they create in play, this seems a bit more challenging to me. I don’t know how I would know the musical utterances they create through play unless I was observing them throughout the day. For example, it would be great to use the song the students ended up all singing during lunch that Katie had created earlier that day when playing with Tyler, but how would the music teacher have known about it if they weren’t there observing the children. I guess the best thing I can think of right now would be to incorporate small elements of creation in class activities to use their experience of adding pitch and rhythm to common words and expressions. An activity that I can think of that does this was one of the ones we did in class on Tuesday. The “John the Rabbit” activity had us creating when we had to sing what vegetable John the Rabbit was eating and how he was eating it. As I think of this know this is actually very similar to the children’s lunch song in this reading passage. Both have a set structure and main part and then the students add their own element and thought based off of the set structure.

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