Miss Tubbs' Music Memos


March's Benefits of Music Education

1. Development in creative thinking: Kids who study the arts can learn to think creatively. This kind of education can help them solve problems by thinking outside the box and realizing that there may be more than one right answer.

2. Music can develop spatial intelligence: Students who study music can improve the development of spatial intelligence, which allows them to perceive the world accurately and form mental pictures. Spatial intelligence is helpful for advanced mathematics and more.

3. Kids can learn teamwork: Many musical education programs require teamwork as part of a band or orchestra. In these groups, students will learn how to work together and build camaraderie.

Composer of the Month

Although he was probably one of the greatest American composers, Aaron Copland did not grow up in a musical family. His parents were Russian immigrants who never even went to a concert. After several attempts to obtain musical instruction including a correspondence course, he eventually went to a school in Europe where a young teacher named Nadia Boulanger influenced him to become a composer.

He was one of the first composers to successfully incorporate jazz rhythms into symphonic music. He was very helpful and generous to other young composers, often promoting their music along with his own.

Aaron Copland's music often told a story and used imagery when composing his music. You can experience that imagery and story telling in the song below, "The Cat and The Mouse."

Aaron Copland - The Cat and The Mouse (audio + sheet music)

5th and 4th Grade Spotlight

This month, both 5th and 4th grade are studying "improvisation." Improvising is when musicians (or sometimes it refers to comedians) make up their performance as they go along. To start building this skill, students are first working on improvising rhythms. In class, we have formed drum circles where the class "calls" with a group rhythm and each student then "responds" by improvising a rhythm over 8 beats of music. Some of the classes have begun to master rhythmic improvisation and are now applying those rhythms to improvising on the xylophones.

Another activity that all the classes have loved, is a dance called "Back At Ya!" A leader improvises 8 beats of dances moves and the class repeats. It's been fun to see how creative our students are!

Below is a video of Wynton Marsalis (a famous trumpet player) demonstrating the process of improvising a song.

3rd and 2nd Spotlight

3rd and 2nd graders are beginning to composer their own musical songs. Students have shown a true mastery of reading and writing rhythms and just finished a quiz on listening to and identifying a written melody. Now, we are starting to write our own melodies, not just including solfege on the staff, but also combining these skills with rhythmic patterns, as well. Composition is a creative outlet for many students, and children love to hear the songs that they have created. In later years, students will be composing in the computer lab and have instant auditory feedback, allowing them to listen to and adjust their song as they see fit!

1st Spotlight

1st grade has continued their mastery of identifying different instrument sounds. We are now beginning to categorize these sounds into three different types: wooden, skin, and metal. Grouping by characteristics is an important part of the 1st grade curriculum and these skills will directly relate to their own general classrooms. As students become more familiar with the instrument sounds, they will begin to identify different animals and environmental sounds that each instrument could make for a sound effect. This will serve as an early form of composition.

Kindergarten Spotlight

4th quarter is an exciting time for Kindergarten! Kindergartners have spent the year developing their skills of imitation, matching pitch, thinking voice, and proper playing technique on classroom instruments. In preparing for 1st grade music, we are now beginning to use pictures and symbols to read rhythms and melodies. Long and short sounds will soon become rhythmic symbols and high and low sounds will become notes on the staff.