Have I gushed yet about the AOSA conference I went to last November? It was amazing, as conferences full of people willing to share and willing to learn always are.
I went to Janet Greene’s excellent session “From Sound To Symbol, A Beginners Journey into Math and Music” where I learned about the following activity.
This is a fantastic pre-rhythmic symbol activity and/or as a tie in to mathematical concepts. (Common Core anyone?)
To prepare, experiment with a variety of activities where the children experience, listen, and move to short and long sounds. One idea is playing various instruments and counting how long the sound lasts in seconds. Then transferring this to a visual representation.
Lead a close listening session on the first few minutes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Movement 1. Students will be able to pick out the theme and sing it to you! Have students in small groups create movements to go with the theme. Listen to the movement again while students move to the music.
Lead the class in watching the following YouTube video that shows the graphic score of both pitch and duration. Discuss observations and encourage questions.
Compose! Students in groups of two or three create a graphic representation of their own ideas. Model making a composition for them first. Provide students with 12×9 pieces of construction paper as the background and strips of colored paper for the notes. I had students show me their compositions before I gave them a glue stick to make it permanent. Once they had their composition, one student gets an instrument that makes a short sound and the other an instrument that makes a long sound. Together, they play their new song!
Perform! Each group shares their composition with the class.
Move! Use the new compositions as a jumping off point for movement. The creators of the composition can play their piece while the class uses the graphic representation and the music as inspiration for movements.
We really loved these activities and I love displaying the compositions in my room!