Kids love body percussion. It's been a natural for them for years, from Patty-Cake to Double Double This That. Alone or with a partner, body percussion is great for rhythmic skills, coordination, and listening skills. Body percussion is also a natural segue to instrumental technique, like practicing bordun patterns on the knees.  And if you don't have instruments, you can still utilize the Orff philosophy. BUT....what if your students don't use body percussion musically? LIKE MAYBE THIS? Ugh. If nothing else, your students will transfer that playing attitude from the body to the instruments, and that's not good. So, what is musical body percussion? GENTLE. If a student ends up with red marks on their legs or hands, they're not being gentle. NOT SO HIGH OR FAR APART. A student should not lift their foot more than an inch for stamping. The hands can be maybe a couple of inches away from the thigh for patsching. The best clapping is done with one hand still or almost ...
Children's Literature Corner: I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes and Gordon James This beautiful little treasure was written to the memories of young Black men such as Tamir Rice and acknowledges the inner strength in young Black boys, or any child in particular. This book would be beautiful to use for Social Emotional Learning or any time a teacher wants to highlight positivity and self-esteem. Musically, this book can also tell this story, with some enhancements. Positive words such as "energy", "go-getter", "leader." This words can be either used as ostinati,  as an expressive speech piece accompanying the reading of the book. Let me give you an example: Example One: ostinato Example Two: expressive speech Adding a little melody with a book that intersperses with sections of the book re-emphasizes the tone and lesson of the book. The little melody I wrote is: You can also add instruments to enhance certain words like ENERGY (with a drum roll or...
Disclaimer: I am an Amazon Associate. When I link items to Amazon in any of my blogs, the link leads to them item. If you purchase through the link, I get a small percentage. So, you don't have to, buy if you do purchase through the link, I really appreciate it! We've all had them. We have our usual concepts that we teach year after year. But somehow, we tire of the same presentation. We might want to create a new theme. But, we've used the usual holidays, music themes, general sports themes, etc.  Why not try crazy holidays? There are various websites that list things like "National Ice Cream Day" or "National Save the Kumquat Day" (OK, I don't know about that one). Consider the fun it would be to introduce these to your kids! Here are some ideas for holidays January-April.   JANUARY January 21 is "Squirrel Appreciation Day." I don't honestly appreciate squirrels when they're in my birdfeeder, but they're cute nonetheless. Ther...
I usually had a difficult time getting some fun stuff in for Thanksgiving for my first and second graders because they were getting ready for their holiday programs. However, I thought it was important that we start rehearsals early enough to 1. incorporate concepts within the music and 2. add other fun stuff that had nothing to do with program songs.  In November, one of the most favorite games was "Shoo, Turkey." There are various arrangements of this song/game in publication, but the one I always used was from the Bessie Jones/Bess Lomax Hawes book Step It Down.  This is a great call and response song you can use for assessment! Alan Lomax, a well-known folk musicologist, recorded Bessie Jones singin g this ditty during an interview on the music she remembered growing up in a Georgia farming community. (By the way, her biographical information in Step It Down is fascinating! If you don't have this book, you should. It is a treasure.) The "call" in the record...
Carl Orff stated that "Dance has the closest relationship to music. My idea and the task that I set myself was a regeneration of music through movement, through dance." Later, he added that rhythm is difficult to teach, expressed only by "releasing" it. Anne Green Gilbert , who developed Brain Danc e, noted the connections between dance and human growth and development. Two Orff educators, Jenny Burnett and Laura Webster, wrote an article for the Orff Echo describing how to use movement to teach concepts (Orff Echo , Vol. 42, No. 4 ). Finally, as noted on this blog post on Walkabout , movement is a crucial tool in social emotional development, which is probably needed more now than in past decades. There's an issue: I KNOW some of you are thinking that it's tough enough to keep kids distanced from each other, much less let them move around the room! Non-locomotor ideas to the rescue. These ideas can be be used to reinforce concepts, expression, mindfulnes...
  As I type this, many of my music teacher friends and relatives are living through the planning or first day stages of distance learning experiences. Life has changed with plastic panels, new sit spots six feet apart (if you're lucky enough to either have classes split or a large class), or new experiences on a cart. OR, you are navigating through recording your lessons and working around various online activities. This is part two of a   three-part blog series collecting various  tip Memes of the Day on my  Facebook page ,  Instagram,  and  Twitter.   Because I'm retired, I've wanted to help, so I began posting these memes, but then realized having all of them in one place might be nice. Distance Learning Memes, Part 1 Distance Learning Memes,  Part 3 Part 2 Use Puppy Pads for Condensation.  Honestly, I can't remember where I read this, but it's genius. We had a package we never really used because our "adopted as grown" dog didn't need them, but the...