Grade 4 Music
Artistic development at ACS is guided by the National Core Arts Standards. In the Elementary division, these standards are taught in Drama and Dance, Music, and Visual Arts (Art) classes. The standards are divided into 4 key areas: Creating, Performing/Presenting/Producing, Responding, and Connecting.
Music Literacy: Conversational Solfege
The simple premise on which this method is based is the same one which is advocated for the teaching of foreign languages (or even one's own initial language). One should learn with his/her ears before learning with his/her eyes. In learning one's own language, there are five or six years in which language skills are developed by ear before the reading and/or writing of language is introduced. This natural process enables one to instinctively communicate verbally with words and later, after learning to read, learn to write those thoughts down. While this method does not advocate waiting five or six years to introduce the reading and writing of music, it does advocate developing conversational skills prior to reading and writing skills.
This process seems especially well suited to an art which is aural - music. Learning to understand music by ear and later by reading and writing ensures that the ear and musical mind are playing an active role in the processing of musical ideas. It ensures that understanding and creating music occur through the musical manipulation of sounds rather than the mere manipulation of symbols. The manipulation of symbols does not ensure musical thinking, whereas the manipulation of sounds pursues the desired task. After all, "music" is not the symbols found on the printed page but the sounds that reach the ear. In some countries, the word "music" is never used to refer to the printed copy. Rather, the printed copy is referred to as the "notation." This method proposes a process which ensure the "music" is learned and aurally understood first and then later bonded to the "notation."
The selection of songs and rhymes used in this method are those from the rich repertoire of traditional folk songs and rhymes. It is believed that those songs and rhymes best reflect the natural melodic and rhythmic inflection of our musical language as well as the aesthetic subtlety of those people who created and/or shared those songs and rhymes for generations. This is a literature driven curriculum.The order of rhythm and tonal patterns used in this method were determined through a thorough investigation of those rhythm and tonal elements which occur regularly in traditional children's folk songs and rhymes, from the simplest to the more complex.
- Excerpt taken from Conversational Solfege - Level 1 by Dr. John Feierabend
Step 1 Readiness Rote
Songs and rhymes are learned by rote that contain rhythm and/or tonal content, which will be studied later. Rhythm and tonal patterns can also be echoed on a neutral syllable at this step.
Step 2 Conversational Solfege Rote
Rhythm syllables and/or tonal syllables are introduced. Patterns are spoken or sung by the teacher with the syllables and students repeat, by rote, those patterns with the syllables. During this stage, students bond rhythm and tonal patterns with aural labels.
Step 3 Conversational Solfege Decode - Familiar
This stage serves as an evaluation to see if students have bonded rhythm and/or tonal patterns with the correct syllables. The teacher speaks or sings familiar patterns with neutral syllables and familiar songs and rhymes, and the students repeat the patterns, songs, and rhymes with rhythm or tonal syllables.
Step 4 Conversational Solfege - Decode Unfamiliar
This stage serves as an evaluation to see if students have bonded rhythm and/or tonal patterns with the correct syllables and can generalize those syllables to unfamiliar patterns, songs, and rhymes. The teacher speaks or sings an unfamiliar pattern with neutral syllables and unfamiliar songs and rhymes.
Step 5 Conversational Solfege Create
This stage develops the ability to think original musical thoughts. Students create original rhythm or tonal patterns using rhythm or tonal syllables.
Step 6 Reading Rote
During this stage, students are introduced to notation symbols. The teacher reads notated patterns for the students. The students repeat each pattern while looking at the notation.
Step 7 Reading Decode - Familiar
This stage serves as an evaluation to see if students have bonded the notation for rhythm and/or tonal patterns with the correct syllables. The teacher asks the students to think through notated patterns with rhythm or tonal syllables and then speak or sing them aloud using the rhythm or tonal syllables.
Step 8 Reading Decode - Unfamiliar
This stage serves as an evaluation to see if students have bonded the notation for rhythm and/or tonal patterns with the correct syllables and can generalize that knowledge to unfamiliar patterns, songs, and rhymes. The teacher asks the students to think through unfamiliar notated patterns with rhythm or tonal syllables and then speak or sing them aloud using the rhythm or tonal syllables. Patterns, songs, and rhymes used at this stage have not been presented previously.This requires visual decoding skills and inference thinking. This stage is often referred to as sight-reading.
Step 9 Writing Rote
During this stage, students learn to write notation. Students should copy existing patterns, songs, and rhymes and be instructed in proper manuscript techniques.
Step 10 Writing Decode - Familiar
During this stage, students engage both conversational decoding skills and writing decoding skills. The teacher speaks, sings, or plays familiar patterns or phrases from a song or rhyme with neutral syllables or the text. Students thinks each pattern with rhythm or tonal syllables (Step 3) and then write the notation for the pattern (writing - decode).
Step 11 Writing Decode - Unfamiliar
During this stage, students engage both their conversational decoding skills and writing decoding skills. Their teacher speaks, sings or plays unfamiliar patterns or phrases from a song or rhyme with neutral syllables or the text. Students think the pattern with rhythm or tonal syllables (Step 4) and then write the pattern (writing - decode). Again, students will discover that by conversationally speaking or singing syllables they are telling themselves what to write! This stage requires aural and visual decoding as well as inference thinking. This stage is usually referred to as dictation.
Step 12 Writing Create
This skill requires students to conversationally create through inner hearing (Step 5) and then writing decode by transferring their musical thoughts into notation. This skill is usually referred to as composition.
The movement themes of Rudolf Laban provide an ideal portfolio of movement possibilities. Through these activities children will develop body coordination as well as expressive sensitivity, especially when carefully coordinated with recorded music that complements the expressive quality of the movement.
Students will understand that...
Choreographers use a variety of sources as inspiration and transform concepts and ideas into movement for artistic expression.
The elements of dance, dance structures, and choreographic devices serve as both a foundation and a departure point for choreographers.
Choreographers analyze, evaluate, refine, and document their work to communicate meaning.
Space, time, and energy are basic elements of dance.
Dancers use the mind-body connection and develop the body as an instrument for artistry and artistic expression.
Dance is perceived and analyzed to comprehend its meaning.
Dance is interpreted by considering intent, meaning, and artistic expression as communicated through the use of the body, elements of dance, dance technique, dance structure, and context.
Criteria for evaluating dance vary across genres, styles, and cultures.
As dance is experienced, all personal experiences, knowledge, and contexts are integrated and synthesized to interpret meaning.
Dance literacy includes deep knowledge and perspectives about societal, cultural, historical, and community contexts.
Students will be able to...
Perform/respond to music by using age appropriate movements and movement themes (based on suggested movement repertoire)
Perform a variety of age-appropriate folk dance movements and folk dances while singing
Recognize patterns in movements and their connection to musical form
Make connections between movements and dances to other disciplines (math, language arts, social studies, geography, P.E., art), cultures and their daily lives
Define the following terms: folk dance, movement theme, steady beat, rhythm, and tempo
Demonstrate awareness of body parts and whole; awareness of time; awareness of space; awareness of levels; awareness of weight; awareness of locomotion; awareness of flow; awareness of shape; awareness of others; student created movement
Demonstrate the following: hop (one foot), jump, leap, gallop, skip, do-si-do, elbow swing, kick, sashay, forward, backward, clockwise, and counterclockwise; and formations such as circle, line, and scattered formation