Happy new school year! This is Jamie, and I, like most of you, are busy getting everything finalized for the start of the new year.
This year, one of my goals is to include and inform parents on the learning that is happening at school. In fact, my entire building is working on this goal. We have changed our open house model to a “Teach the Parents Night,” and we are hoping to show parents not just the end goal of a particular project, but also the learning process that occurs.
The parents at my school are fantastic! They are fully supportive of the arts, and they are active in their children’s education. With that said, however, many of the parents do not have much experience or knowledge about music. They want to know what their child is learning and doing in music class, but they don’t know how or what to ask. Because of this, I have decided to include an “Ask Me” section in each newsletter I send out. This section of the newsletter will have several guided questions for each grade level that the parents can use in asking their children about music class. Here are some examples that I plan to use throughout the year:
- Ask me to perform Engine, Engine. Ask me to perform the chant fast and slow. Then, ask me to describe the difference.
- Ask me to perform the song, Hey, Betty Martin for you. Ask me to perform it while I tip-toe and use a soft singing voice Ask me to perform it while I march and use a loud singing voice. Ask me to describe the difference.
- Ask me about our new rhythm, rest. Ask me how many sounds the new rhythm has and how many beats it takes up. Ask me to figure out the rhythm for the song, All Around the Buttercup. Then, ask me to teach you the patting game for the song.
- Ask me about our new melodic sound la. Ask me if it is higher or lower than so and mi. Ask me to show you the steps and skips for our melodic pitches. Then, ask me to show you the hand signs as I sing Lucy Locket. Finally, ask me to play Lucy’s game with you.
- Ask me about our new rhythm, half note. Ask me how many beats it takes up. Ask me to draw a half note for you. Then, ask me to create my own composition using the rhythms I know. Ask me to perform my composition for you. Finally, ask me to teach you how to perform my composition.
- Ask me about our new low sound do. Ask me if it is a step or skip away from mi. Ask me to show the melodic sounds do/mi/so/la for the song Apple Tree. Then, ask me to teach the game for Apple Tree to our family.
- Ask me about sixteenth notes. Ask me to clap only on the sixteenth notes while I sing Dinah. Then, ask me to replace Dinah’s name in the song with the names of our family members.
- Ask me to teach you the notes B, A, and G on recorder. Ask me to play you the song Hot Cross Buns. Then, ask me to create my own song with B, A, and G on recorder.
- Ask me to write the rhythm of the song Old Betty Larkin. Then, ask me to discover the form of the song. Ask me to explain to you how to identify patterns in music. Then, ask me to teach our family the game for Old Betty Larkin.
- Ask me to teach you the notes B, A, G, and E on recorder. Ask me to place these notes on a music staff. Ask me how I know the musical letter names for the lines and spaces of the treble clef music staff. Ask me to teach you how to read using the treble clef.
It is my hope that, by following some of these guided questions, the parents can connect with their children while also understanding what is happening in music class. I’d love to know if you have additional ideas for keeping parents active in their child’s music education! Please leave any comments below!