This week has been my spring break. It's been wonderful: relaxing and full of time with my husband and two kids. But regardless of if I am on a break or not, my mind always floats around school things. It's definitely a blessing that I love what I do!!
I mentioned yesterday that I am behind in my curriculum. With 4th grade, by this point in the school year, I would have presented high do, ti-TA-ti (syn-co-oa), tam-ti and ti-tam and would be working on presenting and practicing fa. I love teaching fa; there are so many great songs. Songs that incorporate movement ("Wishy, Washy," "The Noble Duke of York", "Alabama Gal", "Skipping Rope Song"), part-singing ("Above the Plain," Oh How Lovely," "Make New Friends", "Chairs to Mend"), improvisation ("Mama Lama," "I Don't Care if the Rain Comes Down") and songs that tell stories ("Daughter Will You Marry," "Father Grumble," "When I First Came to This Land," "The Snake Baked a Hoecake," The Gypsy Rover"). I prepare and present fa through the descending melodic phrase of "so-fa-mi-re-do." After this pattern is taught we start exploring fa though other melodic patterns and intervals.
One of my favorite fa practice songs is "Son Macaron." If you look at the rhythm: it is very simple but reinforces tam-ti, which is a 4th grade concept. The other thing that I love about it is it's great practice for mi-fa-so & mi-fa-so-la patterns. In fact, the whole song, with the exception of the last four measures, really isolates these pitches. An added bonus? It has a game that is familiar to the students, with an added level of difficulty!
Formation: circle (seated or standing- I find that with the number of "eliminations" that occur with this game it is best to stand)
- Players have their left hand with the palm side up. Their right hand is placed in their neighbor's left hand.
- While singing the song, the leader crosses over his/her body with his/her right hand to clap the right hand of the neighbor to the left (just like "Aquaqua" or "Down By the Banks"), who then passes the beat to the left and so on around the circle.
- On "tip, tip, tip" the person passing the beat claps the rhythm instead (3 claps) and the same for "tap, tap, tap."
- On the word "out," the person about to receive the beat tries to pull his/her hand away so as not to get tapped. If tapped, that person is out and goes into the middle of the circle. If he/she pulls their hand out, then the person trying to tap is out and goes into the middle of the circle. Once there are three players in the middle, a new circle starts of "outed" players in the middle. Play continues so that a game is going on in both circles. Once the inside circle has more players then the outside, the circle switch places and the players who get out in the original circle (now the middle circle) join the outside circle until there is a winner.
- Once students have learned the song very well, there is an added twist: if the player that is to pat the rhythm on "tip, tip, tip" or "tap, tap, tap" forgets to tap the rhythm he/she is out. And likewise, if the person who is to have the rhythm tapped on their hand if out if he/she forgets and pulls their hand too early.