Kindergarten students are taught how to differentiate talking and singing for at this young age some children combine the two in their daily singing at home. The teaching also focuses on recognizing the high/low, long/short, loud/soft, loud/soft and fast/slow differences. Many songs are used to reach the objectives including simple songs, question/answer songs, singing games and dances. Students enjoy doing the “Jungle Message” activity for their beat practice.
First graders are doing a lot more exploration in singing. We start building the tone ladder by learning the first three or five notes on it. Through the reviewing of the songs from previous year we are able to finish this task before the end of the year while we enjoy lots of singing games, action songs, inner hearing and question/answer songs.
Second graders are leaning two part singing with teacher’s hand sign and teacher’s ostinato. We are learning more music theory such as time signature and forms. Beat and rhythm are also introduced at this level by doing object passing games. Simple note writing is also used in the worksheet activities. Students are writing line and space notes to prepare for their solfege reading for the next year. Singing games require more cognitive thinking such as spacing and how one can win the game.
Third grade is a level of reviewing lots of previous knowledge. We use songs with more verses and sing solfege from songs by memory. Inner hearing and hand sign singing are going hand in hand. Tone ladder at this stage is very easy for them because we use almost every lesson. Writing and reading music are combined since their sense of pitch have grown so much after the first three years. Rhythm is kept in reading quarter and 8th notes and the teacher reinforces steady beats at all times.
Fourth graders start to use notes that have half steps and increase their tones up to 11 on the tone ladder. Many songs from American heritage have been taught at this time. We enjoy old American folk songs and learning the play parties and singing games. Pitch at this level is so much secured so we sing canons more often and sometime we do this activity with circle moving to increase the fun of it. Fourth graders present a spring program for the school and PTO in the spring time. A drum ensemble also presents a short program for March PTO night.
Fifth graders are our seniors and we do talent show at the end of the school year through auditions and an after school choir is presenting a winter program in December. Canons are used almost every time in our lessons. Rhythm learning includes 16th note and syncopation. We still do dances and singing games. Preparing students for middle school in always my top priority.