Posted by: calannad | July 26, 2012

Week #5 – Orchestra!

Hey guys!

I can hardly believe we only have one more week of Between the Lines. Molly and I are going to miss y’all like crazy!

This week was one of our favorites of the summer – we talked all about orchestras, which Molly and I both love to listen to and play in! Your kids learned that orchestras are big groups of people who play music together. We listened to some awesome orchestra music that made us imagine and feel all kinds of things.

To see first hand how an orchestra works, we decided to make our own – right at BTL! As the kids learned, orchestras are made up of four “sections” (strings, winds, brass, and percussion) and each section is made of of specific instruments. So we also split up into four sections, and assigned ourselves the names of the orchestra sections. Just like a real orchestra, we learned to follow our “conductor” (and we saw just how tricky that can sometimes be!) in a big game of musical “simon says”.

To learn more about the instruments in each section of an orchestra, we read one of our favorite musical books – “Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin!”. Then we got to see some of the instruments in the book up close! Our awesome friend Paul played his violin for us, and let your kids try it out for themselves. We also saw the viola, the cello, and the harp, among others!

Finally, we learned about one piece of orchestra music up close – the Firebird Suite, by Igor Stravinsky. The Firebird Suite is based on a beautiful Russian fairy tale, which we read and acted out together. We listened to the piece as well, and looked at visual artists’ interpretations of the characters and scenes. Then we crafted our own versions of characters from the story out of Model Magic clay.

Of course, there was also a Firebird snack to reward us for all our hard work… Molly and I made “Firebird Tails” out of chocolate-covered Oreo cookies – yum!

To wrap up, as always, here’s the next verse of our song:

Turn on the lights and give an “A”
It’s an orchestra – hooray!
Winds, percussion, brass and strings
Play all sorts of awesome things!
Turn on the lights, its time to start!
Listen for each special part! 

We hope to see you all on Wednesday for our finale lesson! Have a musical week!

Lots of love,
Anna [:

Posted by: calannad | November 22, 2011

Nov. Mini-Masterclass Reflection – “Go Crazy!”

Things I learned are: Kids love drumming – and shouting, and dancing, and jumping! I feel like I learned a lot just fromt the way Karolina interacted with them, and engaged them. I never would have thought of such simple ideas, like connecting different movements with different rhythmic patterns. It was also interesting to play this different role. Last time, Nash and I led everything, and also had everything we were going to do planned out. This time, I didn’t really have any idea what Karolina was going to do, so I had to react to every moment and adjust my thinking to find ways to help her, while letting her lead.

I wish I would have: Brought less duct tape? I really don’t have too many regrets on this one. Karolina did a fantastic job with the kids, and they all had a blast. The way we made the shakers evolved a little over the course of the two classes (two pieces of tape are better than one!) so maybe trying that out first, but that’s a pretty small thing.

One question I have is: How much are the kids using their instruments at home? This is less of a question and more just something I’d love to hear more about if we ever have time to chat with the kids before or after lessons. I loved hearing a couple of them volunteer that they either played them for their families, with their families, or even made more!

Next time I will: Work to try and adapt some of these cool interactive elements into a lesson about wind instruments – which will take some creativity for sure.

Posted by: calannad | November 14, 2011

Radio Music Circle Plan Nov.

Date(s): 11/15/2011 and 11/17/2011

Understanding Goals: Reminding kids of why we’re there, reestablishing the FTT connection, and – most importantly – introducing them to all the non-string instruments in a fun, engaging way. They might even hear some of these on From the Top!

Essential Questions: What are all the different kinds of instruments? What do they sound like? What do they look like? What kinds of music can they play?

Outline: Say hello, and remind them all of the super exciting From the Top recording in February. Also refresh their memories about the video we showed them last time and see if they remember some of those other cool instruments they noticed?

Main Activity: Line up all the different kinds of instruments, and explain to the kids that we’re going to play a guessing game – like a “quiz show”. But they all have to pay really close attention to get to play. Play each track on the mix-CD and let each kid take one guess as to which of the instruments is playing. After each kid has made a guess, reveal the answer and talk breifly about that instrument/pass it around (as long as none of our instruments are too fragile? the ones I’m bringing certainly aren’t… :P)

Closing: Which instruments were your favorites? Which ones would you like to hear in person? Which one sounded just like it looked? Which one sounds different than you thought it would?

Materials Needed: Instruments! (: Also, a CD with clips of different instruments playing

Posted by: calrachel | November 14, 2011

Drum Circle Exercise

Since I have very little experience with drums, I have decided to incorporate them into one of my favorite games: Indian chief. Once everyone is familiar with the different ways to play, we will ask one person to leave the room and one person to be a leader. When the person comes back, the leader will play different patterns and everyone in the circle will follow and the person gets three tries to guess who is the leader. The leader will be encouraged to use more than the drums, or use the drums in creative ways and be sneaky so the person can’t catch them..Yay!

Posted by: calryan | November 14, 2011

Awesome Video I found on Youtube :D!!

Posted by: calryan | November 14, 2011

Drum Circle Exercise

I plan on doing one of the following activities!

Depending on what types of instruments the second activity might be a bit hard, well, they both might be hard, but we’ll see how it goes right? This is a new experience for everyone! 😀



Keith could you bring a soccer ball from your house?

I’ll text you too…

Posted by: calkeith | November 13, 2011

No cool video in this post.

I was thinking about some sort of name game thing where everyone says their name and then associates a rhythm with it but then I read Molly’s blog post and realized it’s almost exactly the same thing.  So now I’m thinking I could lead a sort of layered improvisation where one person starts off with a beat and then everyone builds on top of that and the person with the base beat controls the rhythm and feel of the whole thing. This can also be repeated several times with different people coming up with the bass beat.

Posted by: callillian | November 13, 2011

Drum Circle

Here’s a video with some drum circle rhythms. They seem a little bit complicated… even for me so maybe we should just start with quarter notes and have people start layering different rhythms over that. We can teach them super easy rhythms and basically have everyone’s rhythms blending into each other… very community building esque (: I think once we actually try drum circling (I just made that a verb.. hahah) we can get a better sense of what activities will work best!

Posted by: calmolly | November 12, 2011

Drum Circle Exercise

So for the drum circle on Monday, I figured since I’m going to introduce it, it would be easiest for me to segue into the first exercise. I think I will do something like that ice-breaker where each person chooses a word and then everyone goes in a circle and says their word and then also everyone else’s word(s). Instead of words, I thought we could do rhythms on the drums.

Posted by: calkassie | November 7, 2011

Drum Circle Videos

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