Music du Jour

Hello everyone! This is Tanya LeJeune from Teaching Music: Tanya's Kodály Aspiring Blog.

I feel like I'm always striving for balance of activities in my music room. In a perfect world, during every lesson my students would work on melodic and rhythmic concepts, practice ensemble work with and without instruments, dance, create in self-directed groups, listen to excellent music, and engage in higher level thinking through thoughtful questioning. Often, I'll look at my long-range plans and think, "I'm not on-track with the 3rd graders, and they haven't learned a folk dance for quite a while!" or "I need to make sure I get that 5th grade listening lesson in before Halloween!"

One of my goals this year is to include more listening in my lessons. My students are simply not exposed to a variety of music outside of the music room, unless it's pop or hip hop. It's wonderful that they listen to music at all as I believe that any music listening eventually leads to more listening of other genres. It's my responsibility to broaden students' music listening and expose them to genres they might not encounter outside of the music room. (Have you ever played a orchestral piece for young students and had several remark, "Is this from The Nutcracker?" That's a sign that they have not heard much classical music!)

This year I started including "Music du Jour" (music of the day); a title I heard from my friend and steller music teacher Jackie Ives. Every other lesson includes a Music du Jour for the last 5-7 minutes of class. This doesn't mean we're not listening to pieces during a lesson; many times, the Music du Jour has been a video that deepens students' experience of a piece we have heard. An example of this is Cellist Yo Yo Ma and dancer  Lil' Buck, performing Camille Saint-Saens' "The Swan" . 

Each grade level's Music du Jour relates to what we're focused on in that lesson. When 6th grade students were comparing and contrasting major and minor tonalities in August, Major to Minor: "The Star-Spangled Banner" by Chase Holfelder was our Music du Jour:

I don't always show a video, sometimes we listen to a piece without visuals. After second graders learned and sang Froggy Went a Courtin' we listened to the variation Here's to Cheshire, Here's to Cheese, performed by Pete Seeger.

'Tis the season for scary music! Here is a gem; Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor:

The best part is that I included a Music du Jour page on my school music website. Many of my students have said they have enjoyed repeated viewings at home. (You can see my Music du Jour page here.) Introducing excellent music to students: great, students repeatedly listening to those pieces on their own time: priceless!

Thank you for stopping by and happy listening!

1 comment

  1. What a great idea! (And yes, I have had "This is the Nutcracker!" happen to me a few times!) Thanks for the wonderful blog post!


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