Understanding the learning and work behind the musical portion of the performances this month

New School Montessori parent and music teacher, Melissa Robinson, collaborated with TNSM dance teacher, Jeanne Speier, this year with multi-aged groupings of (6-9) and (9-12) students in a project-based curriculum that helped students develop skills while also working toward a performance for our community.

 (6-9) music
  • Students started the term by exploring the following musical elements: melody, rhythm, and form.
  • They demonstrated an understanding of pitch (high and low) using Orff instruments and boomwhackers.
  • Rhythmic sequences from the musical songs were played on rhythm sticks.
  • Call and response form and AB form were introduced.
These concepts were built upon as students began working on the songs in the musical “The Drum.”In addition to the musical elements, (6-9) students gained some valuable experience working together as a team on a long-term project. In the end, they presented two fantastic performances of “The Drum.”
Beginning Strings led the opening act for the (6-9) Performing Arts Celebration . They played “Twinkle Variations,” “Good King Wenceslas,” and “French Folk Song.”

(9-12) music
Students received their ukuleles on the first day of music class. After working on basic posture and playing position, students learned how to build a major chord and how to play their first chord—C major. They then played their first song, “Are You Sleeping?” which can be played using just one chord. All this on the first day!
From that point on, students continued building new chords and adding new songs to their list. The dominant seventh chord was introduced, which opened up a gateway to playing some songs with a more interesting sound. Students also worked on linear melody, rhythmic strumming patterns, and lyrics.
In the end, the (9-12) students played several beautiful pieces at the Performing Arts Celebration. Included were “Row Your Boat,” the “Lion Sleeps Tonight,” and “Big Yellow Taxi.” Before each song, students built each chord note-by-note and sang the pitches in each chord using solfege syllables. Students also played “Pearly Shells” while others did the hula. Sixth graders performed a waltz melody on the ukuleles to accompany the 4th and 5th graders, who demonstrated some specific hula motions.
TNSM’s orchestra played the opening act for the (9-12) Performing Arts Celebration, playing “Rhythm ‘n Blues” by Soon Hee Newbold and “Canon” by Johann Pachelbel.

We are grateful to have Melissa leading our music programming.
In addition to teaching our elementary music education, Melissa founded our strings program in 2011, sharing her instrumental background in violin, viola, cello and base. She has taught general music education k-8, as well as instrumental music k-12. Melissa has a B.S. in music education and received her B.M. in music performance. She was the former director of the strings division at Northern Kentucky University and has performed with the Marion Philharmonic, the Muncie Symphony, and the Anderson Symphony.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *