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

Firework by Katy Perry

Expression in music through creative movement 

This song was very popular amongst my students a few years ago. In addition to just singing the song together, I created this lesson for the students to uncover how musicians use tension and dynamics in a piece of music to create expression. The lesson is divided into three parts; first the students identified the form of the song and then described the expression in each section followed by creating their own dance or creative movements based on the expression that they discovered. At the conclusion of this lesson students were then asked to replicate that kind of intensity and expression in their own compositions.

Get the complete lesson plan here:  Firework

Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield

For this lesson I started by having the students sing the song together several times and then aurally copy the opening ostinato, which is also prevalent throughout the song. We then covered the rest of the song using classroom instruments. The covering lessons took three, thirty minute class sessions. The final session was a performance of the song followed by activities in which students created their own riff or ostinato,  that served as a launch pad to create a new original song.

This lesson was part of a larger research project that was published in the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education entitled, Informal learning processes in an elementary music classroom.

Click here for a link to the abstract.

Get the complete lesson plan here:  Unwritten

Hey Soul Sister by Train

This was an infectious song that all of my students from the first through fifth grades enjoyed singing. Using classroom instruments, including ukuleles, the students spent time covering this song. They had a lot of fun and in the process they also learned about musical form.

Get the complete lesson hereHey soul sister