In Kindergarten, we have spent most of the year working on quarter notes, quarter rests and the letters in the music alphabet. We’ve played games and had simple songwriting activities that have practiced these concepts individually. Towards the end of the year we begin to put all of these concepts together by composing simple songs. I have all of my Orff instrument bars color coded the same as the boomwhacker colors. Children use those colors to create a song. I also use these projects to expose kids to the music staff and the concept that music notes go on the staff. I do not focus on placement on the staff yet.
There are thre learning targets I want them to accomplish with this activity.
I can put 4 quarter note beats on each staff. (I begin the process of grouping notes/measures)
I can put a letter of the music alphabet under each note that matches it’s boomwhacker color. (This is additional letter practice for the music alphabet)
I can play my song on the xylophone. (students practice reading and playing their music)
The kids love the fact that they are able to play and hear what they have written. I refrain from putting in rules like only using a pentatonic scale or certain notes. I want them to explore and practice using the skills. Children who are ready for a challenge or the next step I will add additional rules to add to their skill set.
Once students are finished with their songs. We share out individually in front of the group. Students have a performance opportunity in front of their peers. I don’t focus on keeping a steady beat or tempo. That will come with time and practice. My focus is can they read the notes. I view it the same way I view teaching children how to read. First, children need to learn how to decode the language, comprehension and fluency come with time and practice.
After all students have shared out, I create a song binder for the class so when students have time to explore in centers they can going to the playing center and choose someone else’s song to play. This builds their practice and reading skills.