Some news from the music classroom…

Term 1 is already behind us and plenty of exciting actions have been undertaken in our Junior music department.

First of all, this year our music classes are structured in a slightly different way. Each lesson is divided into mini-classes that expose our students to three essential elements: Vocal, Instrumental and “Listening time”.

Vocal:

From EY3 through to Grade 5, singing is at the core of our music programme. As we are educating our students towards becoming true global citizens and multi-culturally aware, it made sense to focus our singing approach on World Music. This not only promotes cultural diversity, but it also exposes our students to a wider range of techniques/styles/languages/rhythmic patterns… In a time where the music industry is “molding” artists into money-driven machines, it is essential we celebrate the richness of our traditions.

Our repertoire will thus include songs from Israel, Africa, America, Brazil, Thailand, Australia, Hungary, India…to name a few.

To encourage and support our students through their learning process, I have created an “Online Recording Folder” where each grade can find the recordings of all songs (and all individual parts) we are currently learning. This enables them to keep practicing the songs on a more regular base. Later on, this folder will also be used for our students to upload their own recordings as to get an individual feedback on their progress. Parents are strongly encouraged to promote this tool at home. This is also a great way to follow what we are learning in our music classes throughout the year.

Instrumental:

Music theory is often seen as complex and boring by most our students. However, we all know how crucial it is to develop accurate skills when it comes to learning…well, about anything new!

As an attempt to resolve this, I decided to approach music theory through playing instruments.

Each lesson, we are learning different concepts related to either pitch or rhythm; therefore we need to use lots of different instruments that fit the studied concept. To facilitate this, we were granted some extra budget and just purchased new Ukuleles, Boomwhackers, Recorders, a Guitar, an Accordion, other accessories and lots of strings… just in case!

On top of this, we just received 2 Tanpuras; a traditional Indian instrument which we will use during our “exploring Indian music” inquiry. We wish to extend our deepest gratitude to Ajarn Casey and his son Cha for this generous donation.

Listening Time:

To offer a relaxing yet productive break option, we are now listening to a different song during each our classes. This provides us with a welcome “quiet time” but it also allows us to explore genres of music our students are not familiar with; as well as discovering some of the greatest musicians the world has known. These activities are an excellent tool to encourage inquiry as we get to wonder about different cultures, countries, languages, beliefs and traditions.

This would be totally useless if our students were not given opportunities to demonstrate their skills. Therefore, performances will be an integral part of our programme; and not only through the exciting JS production.

Ajarn Gina and I have established new collaborations between our Senior and Junior departments. Senior students are now regularly performing for our Grade 4 & 5 students. We are thereby hoping to create a safe environment for our older students as to practice the art of performance; as well as raising the interest and motivation of our younger ones.

Moreover, our brand-new Grade 4-5-6-7 Exploria choir called “Sing Together!” will also join some of our Junior and Senior classes in order to show the songs they are working on. By the way, we are looking for new members to join in Term 2, so keep this in mind if you find yourself singing in the shower every morning.

Finally, starting in Term 2, our Junior students will take advantage of every performance opportunity coming their way. Expect to hear us at upcoming Monday Assemblies, Whole School Assemblies, Community Markets, Cultural Festivals and other events…

Indeed, what an exciting year for our students! Keep an ear open; you will definitely be hearing more from us…

Laurent Chiarelli
JS Music Teacher

Where our music is welcome we will play it loud, Where our music is challenged we will play it louder

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