Popular music, informal learning processes in the elementary classroom….is this really possible?

There is a growing body of research regarding the use and creation of popular music in school settings; in general this literature is targeted for the secondary level. Many teachers feel that children cannot and should not engage in popular music making, but children are perfectly capable and the music that is so meaningful to them should be a part of their elementary experience. Continue reading

Composing and improvisation in the lives of children

Today I was re-reading  Eve Harwood and Kathy Marsh’s brilliant chapter in the Oxford Handbook of Music Education. This paragraph gave me pause once again as I considered how to best enable children to compose and improvise in the ways that are natural for them and also help to guide without killing these natural impulses. I put the entire paragraph here because I think it is very powerful and one that pre-service teachers need to be aware of as well. You will find this quote on p. 329 of volume 1. Continue reading

Chinese New Year 2015

lion dancersGung Hay Fat Choy or best wishes for a prosperous new year! Chinese New Year is one of the most important holidays for the Chinese people and it is marked with many traditions. I learned a great deal about these traditions and the festivities surrounding the holiday while living and teaching in Singapore. The island was transformed during the holiday with many festivals, food stalls and lion dancing performances. Continue reading

La Mariposa, A Bolivian folksong

This was part of a series of lessons dealing with the concept of melody. Students were introduced to several songs from South America, Japan, Europe and America. In these examples you will find lessons that are designed to enable students to work in cooperative groups in problem solving situations where they could draw upon their collective knowledge and act upon their decisions! Some of the lessons use puzzle cards that are simply iconic representation of the melodic shape and duration. While the concept of melody was the focus, the students noticed many more musical dimensions which led to creative projects dealing with musical form, expression, and timbre.

I was introduced to the puzzle card idea by Dr. Jackie Wiggins at Oakland University. See her book, Teaching for Musical Understanding for more information.

Title–La MariposaWorld music playground
Artist—Colibri  (Bolivia)
—World Music Playground
Get the complete lesson plan here  Title—La Mariposa