Category Archives: Art of Teaching Children Music

Final Project #3- Reflection on Growth Throughout the Semester

Growth Throughout the Semester

            There are many ways in which I have grown as a teacher this semester. In general I knew very little about teaching practices specific to general music. I knew a lot of ideas and elements of teaching in general and for teaching music, but not really general music. I remember for the first teaching of the semester that when Dr. Stauffer explained it and how short, simple, and easy it would I be that I thought, “Oh thank goodness, because I have no idea how to do anything else more complicated than that right now.” It is so nice to see now that I feel comfortable and confident teaching many different lessons much more complicated than that one. It is always really amazing to look back at my growth throughout the semester.

There are several general things I learned about what to do and what not to do, how and how not to do things just from having these experiences to teach in this class. For example, I learned that teaching something in another language is hard. In my song teaching video in class I used the song “De Colores”. I did not feel terribly good about that lesson at the time, and looking back on it now I still don’t feel so good about it. I did a lot of talking, there was not much student leadership in it, and I think that I actually did accomplish some good things with movement in that lesson, but the focus of that lesson was supposed to be on learning how to sing the song, and I feel that I did not really adequately achieve that. I think that this was a poor choice of song for that focus, especially for not having had experience teaching a song in that way. I think that teaching songs in other languages is good, and I would very much like to develop that skill, but I just think that that may not have been the right time for that.

This said, there are things that I was happy to see in watching that particular video. I was really focusing on assessing the class throughout by asking many questions, and I am really happy to have seen that I was doing that. I think that his class really helped me develop my question asking skills in general. I think that I really refined my question asking by the time I taught the New Melodic Element lesson. I had been getting good at it in the song teaching one and in the New Rhythmic Element one, but I think that one is when I really started asking them in an organic way. Something else that I was happy to see in my song teaching video was that at that point I started getting better at giving specific feedback, even in quick little transitional comments. I noticed this when I heard my comment after the class sang with me and I said “Very nice entrance there,” because that entrance is syncopated and somewhat tricky. This was great because it was a quick little comment before moving on to the next step, but it was something specific that pertained to the activity they were doing. I also noticed that in later lessons, like in the New Rhythmic Element one when I said “Nice job keeping a good beat.” Refining that clear and specific feedback was something very important to me going into this semester, because that was something I did not feel particularly strong in. I definitely came a long way in developing that skill throughout last year, but I really think I have taken that to another level this year. I have also noticed it improve in my private lesson teaching. I don’t use “good” as a transition word so much anymore, which I definitely used to be very much guilty of, and at times still am. It’s a work in progress, but that progress is coming along!

Something else that I did not feel incredibly strong in coming out of last semester was my volume of speech while teaching. It was rather bizarre because I tend to speak pretty loudly, and I had never had a problem with not speaking loud enough while teaching before, but for some reason last semester I started developing this bad habit of not speaking loud enough. I was glad to see as I watched these videos that this did not seem to be an issue this semester. I think that part of this had to do with where I was placing my voice. Last semester in Art of Teaching Advanced Instrumentalists we spoke about where to place out voices when teaching. We learned that it is healthier to place our voices higher and that placing our voices higher helps the students to hear us better. I did notice that in some of my earlier videos this semester that I was unintentionally placing my voice rather low. I particularly noticed this in my teaching a song over video lesson. In this one there were several times that I accidentally placed my voice very low, and I also noticed this happening in my song teaching lesson in class. I actually remember noticing that as I was recording that my online song teaching video, so I do remember taking note of that to be aware of that, and I think I was. In the next teaching video, the New Rhythmic Element lesson, I noticed that I did a much better job of placing my voice higher. I think I maintained this in the subsequent lessons as well.

There were other details in the New Rhythmic Element lesson that I felt putlined my improvements throughout the semester. In this lesson I think I started getting really god at teaching songs. I think that the way I felt about my song teaching lesson actually was really good, because it helped me really think about what was a good way to teach a song, and after that I got much better at it. I was very happy with my creativity in teaching it, and I noticed in the lessons that followed I kept this up. In the New Rhythmic Element lesson I also got better at singing my entrances. I noticed in my song teaching lesson that I was not as consistent or strong with that, but by this lesson I had gotten much better at it. In fact, I think that working on that in this class helped me become more aware of my counting off in general. This was actually something I was specifically working on for my teaching in the String Project classes as well. I have worked a lot on that in the classes and in my private lesson teaching as well, and I think I have improved at this a great deal. I now also usually sing entrances with my strings private lessons because it encourages audiation and helps them hear if they are on the right note and if they are in tune when they start.

There are a few more things that I feel I improved on throughout this class. First, I have become much more clear and concise in my teaching. This seems evident to me when I compare my final teaching to my earlier teachings. I was very happy to see how much more concise and clear I had gotten in that last teaching. I have noticed this in other teaching settings as well. In my private teaching I also feel like I have gotten much better with my use of speech and much more clear and to the point with what I want to say. Second, I feel that as a young teacher starting off there is so much to take in and focus on that it is easy to be blind to some things. When teaching we have to look for what the students are doing well and what they need to improve on, and it can be easy to miss things. I now feel like I am getting more comfortable with my teaching and that is allowing me to focus more on seeing these things. I am getting better at not being blind to these details. Finally, in this class I think I did a good job of developing the use of my physical cues for the students. I personally feel that I used strong and clear visual cues in all of my lessons throughout this semester, even the first one. My facial cues in that one were clear, and in the Folk Dance lesson I used clear visual cues for when to echo me. This is exciting for me because before this semester I don’t think this was something that I was as strong at.



Final Project #4- Internship Portrait

A Semester at Fuller Elementary 


My practicum internship for the first semester of my senior year was for the general music program at Fuller Elementary School in the Tempe Elementary School District No. 3. This was my third internship with my college program. My first one had been a year earlier in an elementary strings placement working with 4th-6th graders at a different elementary school, and my second one was the semester that preceded my placement at Fuller in a high school orchestra placement working with 9th-12th graders. This was my first internship working with general music, my first internship working with a class that was not strings-based, and my first internship working with children in grades lower than fourth grade. I could not have been more excited! It was a lot of firsts, and I was excited for all of them.

This school as a whole had a very specific and unique environment to it. The school was in a rather average middle class neighborhood, resembling those around many of the other schools in the district. It was one of the 16 Title I schools in the district, and its main building was original to the school, built in 1977. Viewing the school with only these details in mind, it seemed very similar to many of the other schools in the district. However, there were other details about the school that set it apart from the district’s other school. The school was built to have about 500 students attending, again, much like the district’s other schools, but the semester I interned at Fuller there were about 770 students attending the school. A vast majority of the students were out of boundary students, and it was known in the district as the elementary school that many of the district employees sent their children to. Fuller, at some point along the way, developed a reputation as a high-achieving school, and became a school where parents wanted to send their children and where teachers wanted to teach. As such, it became a pretty competitive school to get a job at, making it so that the teachers there were very strong and provided a strong education to their students. Additionally, because so many of the students were out of boundary and their parents were often district employees who very much wanted their children at this school, there was a great deal of parental involvement and support. This really set Fuller apart from other schools in the district and made for a strong sense of community at this school.

My mentor teacher was Erik Whitehill. He had been a teacher with the district for several years and this was his fifth year as the general music teacher at Fuller, so he had an established reputation at the school and had established relationships as the music teacher with many of the students for several years in a row. He worked with students in every grade the school had, which included Kindergarten through Fifth grade. He also had a small class for just children in the SEALS program, which is the school’s program for children with more severe cognitive and developmental disabilities. The district had set that Kindergarten through Fourth grade would have general music classes and Fifth grade would have ensemble groups. For the ensemble groups the students had to choose to join band, choir or orchestra, and this would be their music class in place of their general music. All the general music teachers taught the Fifth grade choir classes and there were traveling strings and band teachers. As such, Mr. Whitehill taught two Fifth grade choir classes twice a week. He had all of his classes for 30 minutes twice a week, with the exception of Fifth grade choir, which he had for 40 minutes twice a week, as was the norm for the district. In addition to these classes that he taught through the school’s music programs he also taught an after school Fourth grade choir class and an after school Fourth and Fifth grade recorder club.

I was lucky enough to see a good sample of different classes on a regular basis in this internship. My schedule made it so I was at Fuller on Monday afternoons and Friday mornings. On the Monday afternoons I got to see one Fourth grade class, and both sections of the Fifth grade choir. On Fridays I got to see one Third grade class, one Second grade class, one Kindergarten class, and the SEALS class. This made it so that I got to work with at least one class from every group that Mr. Whitehill worked with during the school day, with the exception of the Kindergarteners. I did go in a few times on other days at the beginning of the school year before my college semester started, and I got to meet all the students that my Mr. Whitehill taught.


Fourth Grade Musical

Mr. Whitehill had a strong background in musical theatre and enjoyed sharing this with is students through how and what he taught them. Fourth grade was the last year that he got his students for general music, so he did a musical with them as a sort of culmination to their general music experience. He did this in the first semester partially for logistical reasons and partially so they could have a more standard general music curriculum for the second semester of their Fourth grade year. Regardless, the semester I interned at Fuller almost every Fourth grade class I was there for was focused toward the musical. These classes did not follow traditional general music class structures and curricula because of this, which Mr. Whitehill openly admitted. He was okay with making that compromise though, because of how much the students gain and learn throughout the process of putting together the musical.

Mr. Whitehill had been doing Fourth grade musicals for quite a while at this point, and they had grown into large productions with high expectations and great support. Mr. Whitehill composed his own musicals, and by the time I interned with him he had already had a few published and others in the processes of being published. The musical the Fourth graders did that year was called The Test and the Time Machine. Mr. Whitehill wrote this to reflect to the children the frustrations they may have had with standardized testing, but after taking them on a journey in the musical through time to the sources and foundations of much of their education he hoped to help relieve some of that stress and motivate the students to do well in school.

Mr. Whitehill had a very methodic approach to how he put together his musicals so that they could successfully present good quality show and so that all students were involved. First, he had a group of students who he called the “bodies”. The bodies were the people who were on stage acting out what was going on throughout the musical. These students were in costume and motioned throughout the entire production, but they did not speak, they simply gestured as if they were speaking. There was a separate group of students who spoke the dialogue off-stage. These students were called the “voices”. The voices did all the speaking as the bodies did the motioning, making it so that when the two were put together it looked like one unified element, and it gave specialized parts to twice the children! There was another group of students who played Orff instruments in a small ensemble to help add to the texture of some of the songs throughout the show, and this gave yet another group of children specialized parts. This particular show also called for short parts for students to dance, giving another group of students specialized parts. The remaining students all sung in the chorus on all the songs, just like a chorus in any musical would. All of the other students with specialized parts would also sing the songs so that everyone was singing together, giving the songs a great full texture. He also had “backdrops” that were projections of PowerPoint slides that he designed. As mentioned earlier, Mr. Whitehill had a great deal of support for these shows, so he managed to get help from all of the Fourth grade staff, as well as the principal when putting on this production so that there was a teacher or administrator with each different group of children to help everything run smoothly. He also contacted several professional musicians to make a sort of pit to give the students a sort of full effect of what it would be like to be in a musical.

Mr. Whitehill worked to make this entire process a very educational experience from which the students learned a great deal about a variety of different aspects for putting together a musical. For one, he had to teach the students the songs that they would sing throughout the show. He would first have them listen as a class to the recordings of the songs that he had made. Then he would start by teaching them the words mainly through echoing. He would then teach them the singing through echoes and by rote. He did not focus on teaching these students note reading through this particular project, but instead wanted to have them learn the music in the most efficient way possible. There were various instances when he would expose the children to note reading though. For the group of students playing the Orff instruments he started by teaching them by rote by showing them what hands to use when, but as they got more familiar with the parts he did notate their parts on the board for them to follow along with and know when to play. The students did not necessarily actively understand that they were reading a half note D followed by a quarter rest, but rather they already knew their parts and were able to transfer that knowledge and apply it to the music, and know how to follow the music to know what they had to play when. Mr. Whitehill also auditioned students who wished to do so on parts to determine who would be a body, a voice, an Orff instrumentalist, or another other specialized part throughout the show. He expressed to me his excitement at having the students go through an audition process, and having the other students present view it and understand it. He told me that this would be the first time that most of these children would experience an audition, and so he got to be the first person who ever exposed them to the concept. It was clear that he was very passionate and excited about teaching his students this idea and other ideas related to musical theatre.

Mr. Whitehill wanted to make sure I had some sort of leadership part working with children in the show, so I was the conductor for the small group of students playing Orff instruments. There were three classes of Fourth grade, and Mr. Whitehill wanted there to be representation from each of the three classes in this ensemble, but he still wanted each individual group of children to be able to rehearse together on a regular basis in class. He decided to have a set three people in one class on hand bells, a set of two people in another class on bar instruments, and a set of three people in the other class on auxiliary percussion. I only saw one of these classes on a regular basis, so I group I worked the most with was the group of three students on hand bells. It was really quite fascinating for me to see their growth throughout the process. I very much enjoyed seeing how they would figure out a passage they were having difficulty with and how I could help them do so. I did get a chance to work with the other five students in the ensemble a few times on the week of the musical when we had extra rehearsals with all the fourth grade classes together. At this point these students all knew their parts, but I facilitated how all the separate groups fit together, and this was a great experience to be a part of. I was very grateful to get a chance to observe and participate in the production of one of Mr. Whitehill’s musicals. I thought it was a great experience for the students, and I know that I learned a great deal from it. The production was very well attended and a huge success. Participating in that performance was definitely one of the moments that kept me motivated and excited toward becoming a music teacher.


Fifth Grade Choir

The Fifth grade classes naturally had a different structure than the other classes because they were choir classes instead of general music classes. There were three Fifth grade classes and only two sections of choir. I would see both sections on Monday afternoons, and the first group that came comprised of seven students all from the same class. The second group was about 20 students combined from the other two Fifth grade classes. We would always start the class with warm ups before moving onto their pieces. Mr. Whitehill had various different warm ups that he had taught the classes throughout the school year, and he would usually pick two or three of the to use each class to get the students warmed up into singing. The warm ups helped the students practice a variety of different skills, such as annunciating fast moving lyrics, focusing their breathing, and singing with tall vowels. Other warm ups were more intended as physical warm ups to help get the students actively focused in class. There were a few times throughout the semester when Mr. Whitehill gave me the opportunity to lead the warm ups so that I could have the practice and experience doing so.

Once we finished with warm ups we then moved on to rehearsing the different songs that the classes were singing. There were five songs that they were preparing for the concert in December. We would generally get through three songs each class, and sometimes four if the class was particularly focused that day. The songs we did with the class included the Fuller School song, a medley of Snow is Falling Still and Still, Still, Still, a cannon arrangement of a Mozart Alleluia, the Swine Song by Dave and Jean Perry, and Why We Sing by Greg Gilpin. Mr. Whitehill never had the students break into any more than two parts, and most often had them all singing in unison. He emphasized the importance of singing in head voice when teaching elementary choir so that it matches the range that the students are singing in. This is especially important when working with young boys because they need to hear and understand that they need to place their voice in head voice, as opposed to their chest voice, because at that age it is not developed enough to sing in.


SEALS Classes

The Tempe Elementary School District No. 3 has a variety of different programs to serve different communities of students, and one of those is the SEALS program. This program is only offered at certain school locations, Fuller being one of them, and it is designed to serve children with more severe cognitive and developmental disabilities. Mr. Whitehill has one class with 6 or 7 of these students twice a week. The class also comes with a few aids to help the students succeed in participating in our activities. I saw this class every Friday, and I was very grateful to get the opportunity to observe how Mr. Whitehill structured the classes for this specific group of students. He always has them start with beats. They sit facing us and then he has one of them come up to the front with him and he helps them place the beat somewhere on their body. As this one student is leading, with guidance, the other students are supposed to place he beat in the same place. Mr. Whitehill gives everyone a turn to lead the beat activity every class. The other activities we will lead the students in for the rest of the calls include movement activities with handkerchiefs, playing on percussion instruments, doing the “Chicken Dance”, and doing the “Hokey Pokey”. There were two other activities that we discovered throughout my semester there at Fuller that worked exceptionally well with this group of students. This included the use of the program Incredibox with the class and having the students interact with the guitar in the song slippery fish.

Mr. Whitehill had designed several activities structured for the SEALS kids to help their involvement with music. In the handkerchief activity Mr. Whitehill put on music and had them move the handkerchief in different ways along with the music such as in circles, up and down, and drawing curves in the air. Every few classes he pulled out auxiliary percussion instruments and had them all play these instruments along with percussion music that he put on for the activity. There are also a few classes that he set up bar instruments for the students to play on. When doing this activity we provided a great deal of guidance to facilitate the experience, and it was a great experience for the students. Mr. Whitehill also had the students do some sort of dance almost every class, and he used the Hokey Pokey and the Chicken dance to accomplish this, which was successful because these were dances that the students were familiar with and could accomplish with guidance from the aids and instructors.

There was one day in the semester that we decided to play and sing a song for the students that the SEALS teachers told us they used on a regular basis and did movements to. Mr. Whitehill played the guitar and I played the hand bells and we had the aids help guide the students in the movements that they were familiar with. After singing through it Mr. Whitehill decided to try something. He had the students come up and put their hands on the guitar to feel the vibrations that sound and music make. This was going very well, and then had them each hold the pick and strum the guitar while he fingered the chords and we sang the song. It went incredibly well and the students all really enjoyed the activity. After that day Mr. Whitehill continued doing this activity many more times and on a regular basis. On another day we were using the program Incredibox with students in the other general music classes and Mr. Whitehill decided that he wanted to use it with SEALS as well. This program is a program that uses loops of small units of rhythmic and melodic patterns that are represented by a person that the students can pick to include in a group on the SmartBoard. In doing this the students layer different loops and create a piece with this iconic form of notation. It was a complete success with the SEALS class and they really enjoyed creating in this way.


First, Second, and Third Grade Classes

I got the opportunity to view one of each of Mr. Whitehill’s First, Second, and Third grade classes. These classes all followed a more common curriculum for general music classes. Mr. Whitehill used the Game Plan curriculum, and the semester I interned for him he was actually part of the group of teachers who pushed to get Game Plan materials for every general music teacher in the district. The Game Plan curriculum is largely Orff based, but uses several principles of Kodály as well, so Mr. Whitehill was teaching his students building on the philosophies of both systems. That said, Mr. Whitehill was more Orff focused in general and has gotten trained in Orff classes up through the third and highest level. He incorporated movement into almost every class and had movement words clearly posted in the classroom separated into locomotor and nonlocomotor movements. He would refer to this list often to facilitate warm up activities or core activities we were doing in class. Mr. Whitehill had a good supply of instruments, and he utilized this to his fullest ability. He incorporated playing on instruments often in lessons, and he made a point of giving all students the opportunities to play all the instruments several times throughout the year. The way he did this was not through a detailed list of who had and had not played what, but because he used the instruments so much and had the children switch instruments so much in music class that everyone did get many opportunities on many instruments.

Mr. Whitehill was also very aware of the importance of having students creating through improvisation and composition. He did many activities throughout the semester that I interned with him where the students were creating. It was incredible to see the sense of ownership and pride the students had in the music they created. It was evident that this made music more meaningful to them and more relevant and accessible. Mr. Whitehill incorporated several other elements in his teaching that are common and important to music education, such as note reading, solfege, singing (the entire time emphasizing the importance of head voice), and interpreting music in a variety of ways, particularly through movement and expression. One activity that I found particularly interesting was one that was really quite simple in nature, but was very effective for the students and got the students to relate music to other arts, specifically visual arts and literature. Mr. Whitehill read three different children’s books to his classes that were all contrasting and were all well illustrated. He chose music to pair with these books that he played a recording of for the students while he read them the books and showed them the pictures. In doing this he was teaching these students how to relate different disciplines within the arts, and I noticed that the students were very engaged in this lesson and that it was really quite meaningful for them.



Before that semester I knew very little about teaching practices for general music. I knew a good deal about talking to and interacting with children, and I knew a good deal about teaching string, but general music was not an area I had experience in. That semester of interning taught me so much about teaching general music, and that coupled with my college practicum class “Art of Teaching Children Music” that I took that same semester really prepared me for how to teach this. I found that the ideas presented in my internship lined up perfectly with the ideas presented in my art of teaching class. The two complimented each other very well and came together to provide me with a strong foundation and education for how to teach general music.

Final Project #5- Music Education Principles

General Music Education Principles

            My general philosophy about music education is based in the idea that music and an education in music should be accessible to all students. Music is a part of our cultural identity as humans, and therefore it is something that we should all have access to. I also find great importance in the fact that music has its own body of knowledge and set of skills that the students learn, and that it helps students develop emotionally and cognitively.

There are several elements of knowledge and specific skills that students learn from participating in music activities in school. Music is a subject all of its own that has its own body of knowledge and set of skills, just as any other subject. First and foremost, our students learn how to read music. In doing this the students are learning how to read, write, and express in a unique language all of its own. Music notation is a separate language that students develop an understanding of from participating in music activities. Additionally, students learn basic composition and improvisation through organic and natural means that is unique to them as their creation. Students also learn historical facts pertaining to music and how various different events throughout history have affected music in different ways.

In addition to this body of knowledge and these specific skills, students also learn several attitudes and behaviors through participation in musical activity that help them in various aspects in life. Students learn how to express their thoughts and emotions through music. They do this in several ways. When students participate in musical experiences they learn how to put their own unique impression on the music and how to express themselves through this. In addition, when students create music through composition or improvisation they learn how to express themselves through music. This is something all their own, and it can completely represent them and their thoughts. Students also learn how to make connections between music that they listen to or participate in and their own lives. This helps them connect to music on a deeper level and helps them use music to better understand how to interpret their feelings and thoughts. Participation in musical activities also provides students with the resources and means to learn how to use music as a form of stress management and as a coping mechanism.

One of my favorite things about general music is that it is provided for all elementary schools in most districts, making music accessible to all students. There is much more accessibility to music for children in a school setting than through other settings because all children are in schools. General music aligns perfectly with my basic philosophy about music education that it should be accessible to everyone. As I have learned more about general music I have developed a great respect and love for general music because of this, and I really enjoy teaching general music because I can reach out to more children and expose them to music. It makes for a challenge to find ways to help all the students connect to music and find it meaningful in their own ways, but that rewards of doing it make it very much worthwhile.

Final Project #2- Three Related Plans

Three Related Plans

For my Art of Teaching Children Music class we had to put together three related plans. There was a lot of freedom for what we could do with this project, the only stipulations were that they had to be related in some way, they all had to be for the same grade level, and we could use the lesson we had for our final teaching in class for one of them if we wished. I did choose to reuse that lesson, mainly because while working on that lesson I had lots of other ideas about other sections that could be added to it to create a larger performance activity, and so that is what I chose to do. These three lessons are all intended to go together and come together to make one large activity that would be used as a performance for the students’ families. This becomes very clear in the third lesson because part of that lesson it to put it all together. 

Here is the first lesson:

Final Project 2 Lesson Plan 1

Final Project 2 Lesson Plan 1 pg.2

Final Project 2 Lesson Plan 1 pg.3

Here is the second lesson:

Final Project 2 Lesson Plan 2

Final Project 2 Lesson Plan 2 pg.2 Final Project 2 Lesson Plan 2 pg.3 Final Project 2 Lesson Plan 2 pg.4

Here is the poem that goes along with the second lesson:

The Underground Railroad Poem

Here is the third lesson:

Final Project 2 Lesson Plan 3

Final Project 2 Lesson Plan 3 pg.2 Final Project 2 Lesson Plan 3 pg.3

Here is the Youtube video of Sweet Honey in the Rock’s “Wade in the Water”:

Final Project #1- Final Teaching

Final Teaching

For my Art of Teaching Children Music class I had to do a final teaching where I got the choice to teach what I wished to. I had not gotten the chance to teach a lesson on Orff instruments. I really wanted to get some experience doing this, so that is what I chose to do my lesson on. Here is my lesson plan for the lesson:

Final Project 1 Lesson Plan

Name: Adam Peterson

Date: 12-3-15

Intended Grade: 3rd Grade

New Music Concept/Objective:
-The students will be able to sing the song “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” while playing instrument parts in an ensemble.”

“I Can…” Statements:
-I can sing the song “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”.
-I can do specific motions that go along with “Swing low Sweet Chariot” while singing the song.
-I can transfer these motions to playing instrument parts.
-I can play instrument parts that go along with “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” in an ensemble while singing the song.

Materials Needed:
-“Swing Low Sweet Chariot”
-bass metallophones
-bass xylophones
-alto metallophones
-alto xylophones
(-soprano xylophones)
(-other unpitched percussion)
-a pair of mallets for each bar instrument

-have the students all sit facing me
-“We are going to learn a new song today.”
-sing for them and have them all listen to the song
-echo the ends of the lines “coming for to carry me home” from both lines one and two
-“What is different between those two lines?”à one is higher and one is lower
-“Which one is higher?” à 1; and lower à 2
-“Join me on the ‘coming for to carry me home’s this time.”
-sing the song motioning when it just me and when they should join in
-“Now listen the beginnings of the lines and see if you can figure out what is different between the two.”
-sing “low sweet chariot” of both lines and hold up 1 and 2 to show the different lines
-“What is different between the two?” à 1 starts lower than 2
-“Can you echo me on those now?” à echo the “low sweet chariots”
-go straight into echoing the whole lines without the “swings” but make it very obvious with visual cues that they will be longer lines of echoing
-“Now this time I am going to sing the song, and please join me on everything you know.”
-sing the song with them joining on all but the “swings” and motion to show them when they should be singing
-“Do you think you can join me on the swings now? … Let’s do it! Whole thing together.”
-sing the whole thing together
-“This song has some really important history behind it. Back in the 1800’s, a very long time ago, there used to be slaves in the Southern part of this country. There were some very good people who would help them escape slavery and get freedom. They did this through something called the ‘Underground Railroad’. The ‘Underground Railroad’ was not really a railroad and it wasn’t really underground, but it was groups of people who would help secretly sneak slaves out of slavery in the South and take them to freedom in the North.”
-“So they would find ‘Free-dom up North’.” à say it and do the motions
-“Can everyone do that with me saying the words and doing the motions?”
-do it all together a few times and help them get the hang of it
-“The ‘Underground Railroad’ would take them up to the Northern states and sometimes all the way up to Canada.” à clap say in rhythm on “up to Canada”
-“The slaves escaping would usually travel in the night when it was dark, and they would travel whenever they could, even if there was rain, thunder, lightening, and wind. Can you all make wind sounds?” à make a wind sound and swipe the hand in the motion they will have to
-“‘Sweet Chariot’ was a code that the slaves would use to refer to the Underground Railroad, so they would sing this song, singing and hoping for people from the Underground Railroad to come and take them to freedom. This song was a song of hope.” à do the motion for hope, and then have them do that motion too while saying hope
-“Keep doing that pat and keep saying hope while I sing our song.” à do this
-“Now try singing the song and doing the ‘hope’ pats with me.” à do this
-“Let’s go back to the ‘Free-dom up North’ pattern. … Now continue saying and doing this as I sing the song.” à do this
-“Now try doing the pattern and singing with me.” à just have them continue with the patting and bring them in
-“Let’s mix the two together now.”
-cut the class in half and have half do the “hope” pats and half do the “Free-dom up North” pattern
-get them started doing this and then bring them in on singing
-“Now remember the wind?”à show them the sound and motion
-have them do this and then continue doing it as I sing the song
-then have them do it all together and guide them carefully to make sure it falls on beat 2
-then split them into three groups and have one do the “hope” pats, one do the “Free-dom up North” pattern, and one do the wind sounds and swipe
-have them get started and then bring everyone in on the singing and go around helping out different parts (especially the wind sounds people)
-then have them do back to the “up to Ca-na-da” clapping
-have them do this and then continue doing it as I sing the song
-then have them do it all together
-then split them into four groups and have one do the “hope” pats, one do the “Free-dom up North” pattern, one do the wind sounds and swipe, and one do the “up to Ca-na-da” claps
-have them get started and then bring everyone in on the singing and go around helping out different parts
-“Those of you who are doing the ‘hope’ pats please go to a bass xylophone or bass metallophone. Those of you doing the ‘Free-dom up North’ pattern please go to an alto xylophone, or an alto metallophone(, or a soprano xylophone). Those of you doing the wind swipes please go to a glockenspiel, and those of you doing the ‘up to Ca-na-da’ claps please get a maraca (or another unpitched percussion instrument). People on bar instruments please do not use your mallets yet.”
-go over to the people on the “hope” part and explain to them to line up their left hand on D and their right hand on A à have them just pat
-then to the “Free-dom up North” people and explain that the left hand will always be on D and the right hand will switch off between F# and A, starting on F# à just patting
-then the wind sounds people and have them do the swoosh across the instrument going to the right (up) just with their finger tips
-then to the “up to Ca-na-da” peopleà have them do it on the maracas (or other unpitched percussion)
-stop everyone
-“Okay, we all know our parts, so now let’s put it all together with singing. I will start the ‘hope’ people, then the ‘Free-dom up North’ people, then the wind swipe people, and then the ‘up to Ca-na-da’ people and then I will being us all in on singing. After we finish the song keep playing your parts and I will come around and cut off the groups in backwards order. People on bar instruments keep it without mallets for now.” à do all this
-“Now people with bar instruments pick up your mallets and show me how to hold mallets perfectly. … Now every time you patted on the instrument you are going to play that note with your mallets. People doing the wind sounds take one mallet in your right hand and swipe it across the instrument like you did with your hand. People on the ‘up to Ca-na-da’ part you know what to do. Everyone go ahead and practice this.”
-go over to the glockenspiel people and help them out with how to do the glissando; then walk around and see if anyone else needs help
-stop everyone
-“Let’s put this all together now. I will bring the groups in one by one the same way, and then the singing, and then cut the groups off afterwards one by one the same way.”
-put the entire experience together

-I will be watching and listening to the students throughout to see if they are understanding the movements, words, singing, and relation of the movements to the instrument parts. If anyone seems to not understand any of these aspects then I would repeat or reiterate in some way how a certain step or concept works. I have also set up various parts within the lesson where I will be working with smaller groups of students so I can more easily provide individual help and attention as it is needed.

I felt very happy about how my lesson went, but there were some challenges with recording this lesson. My phone ran out of memory, as did my professor’s when we were recording my lesson, so we caught different segments of my lesson on different devices. These issues happen with technology, and that is just simply real life. I have a few different videos with different parts of my teaching for this reason. Here are the videos: 

Professional Development Workshop Assignment

On Friday, August 21st I went to an in-service for all the general music teachers in the Tempe Elementary District No. 3. This in-service was located at Rover Elementary School, and my mentor teacher, Erik Whitehill, was the teacher leading the event. Erik focused on the use of movement in the classroom and presented us with various different activities to teach movement.

Erik started with general ideas of philosophy, concepts, and standards. He spoke about the new Arizona Arts Standards and how movement can apply to these standards. He explained that students are performing when they are doing the movements for the lesson, and we can also have them lead in activities, and when they are leading they are creating and improvising. These ideas cover overarching strands of our standards. He also presented the Orff “Movement Words” that he has posted in his room and that he uses on a daily basis in his classroom. He talked about how he uses these in his classes, and gave the teachers there a few different ideas of how to use them. The main way Erik uses these words in his classroom is as a warm up that focuses the kids on music and movement as they walk in the room. He has them pick a word from the area of the room where the nonlocomotor words are posted, and picks three students to lead the activity in their interpretations of these movements. This activity is exactly the kind of lesson that Erik was referring to covering several different strands of our new standards.

He then moved on to present activities including music and movement focused toward the primary grades. The first activity was called “Chicken and a Chicken”. To start with this activity the students learn the song, then following this, the teacher would choose students to come up and interpret actions and movements to go along with the words of the song. This gets the students singing, listening, and interpreting the song. They have to process the song at a deeper level in order to correlate motions with the lyrics. The next activity he presented was called “Travel Spots”. For this activity the teacher must set up 2 or more color spot markers and put on several different types of music. The students then are to move along a path from spot to spot and have to move between them in a way other than walking. This gets them to think about how to move in more abstract and creative ways. They also must listen to the music in order to adapt how to move so that their movements reflect the music. The final activity he presented for this age group was “The Magic Forrest”. This activity was rather involved and incorporated a lot of wonderful musical and movement skills to teach the students. For this activity the teacher tells the story of the “Magic Forest”. Throughout the story there are various cues for the students to sing one of the two songs incorporated in the story or to act out movements that portray animals that are part of the story. The two songs are contrasting. One is in major and has a sort of upbeat gospel feel to it while the other is in a minor key and has a much slower tempo. This gives the students a great experience of performing contrasting music. The movements throughout this activity encourage creativity in the students, and result in them creating and improvising.

After presenting these ideas for lessons for the younger grades he then presented a variety of movement lessons that would be directed toward the upper grades. The first activity he presented was called “Mutton Stew”. In this one the students learn the song “Mutton Stew”, and then learn movements to go along with the song. He has them relate the movements to the words that they land on to help correlate where the movements are and to help them better internalize the song by participating in it kinesthetically. After this he then adds instruments to the song and does a creates a form that incorporates the instruments, the movements, and the singing, both together and in cannon. The next one that Erik presented was “Chicken on A Fence Post”. This one is a very high-energy game that the children love! First Erik had us learn the song for the activity. Following this he put a rubber chicken in the middle of the room on a stool and we formed two circles around the stool, one smaller one inside of the larger outer one. The activity then turned into a game with two people outside of the circle who had to race to catch the chicken once the designated people in circles raised their arms to make gates for them to pass through. There are many ways of further complicating this, which makes it increasingly more challenging and fun. We ended with the two circles rotating in opposite directions and the people racing to get the chicken have to run through the moving “gates”. This activity helps the children to gain a better understanding of their sense of place and of their surroundings. They have to be aware of these ideas in order to succeed at this game. The next one that Erik presented was an activity he called “Triangle Shadows”. This activity had to do with following the movements of a peer and creating movements that coincide with the music. For this activity the students have to be in a triangle and they should all be facing the same direction toward one point of the triangle. The person at that point is the leader of the movements that everyone else must follow. Throughout the activity the teacher facilitates when the students turn to face a different point, making it so there is a new leader at a different point. It is a great creating, interpreting, watching, and following activity. The final activity that Erik showed us at this in-service was one of my favorite. He called it the “Four Part Movement Cannon”. He had us start by listening to a recording of a song and moving to the music in our own way that to us related to that music. He then added different elements to this by having us do our own movements for eight beats, then freeze for eight beats, then “melt” for eight beats where we shrink to the ground, and then grow for eight beats where we grow back to the position we froze in, and then we repeat this process. It was a very beautiful way of doing the movements, and then to add to it even more Erik had us do the movements in cannon with four groups all on different parts of the process. It was really amazing to have on group melting as another grows and another is moving about the room between the frozen people. It was a very interpretive and creative activity.

Overall throughout the in-service I learned about the importance of incorporating movement into a music classroom. It helps the students internalize the music and relate the music to themselves in a kinesthetic way. I also learned several different lesson I can use with students to incorporate movement in their education. All of these lessons included clear and detailed objectives and state standards, which is a great resource as a future music teacher. I also found it incredibly helpful to see the lessons being taught and to actively participate in them. That helped me to better internalize what was being said and how to present these lessons. It was an incredibly helpful workshop that I feel I learned a great deal from.