Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oxfam global music lesson plans

Just found a fantastic new resource for music lessons. Oxfam have created lots of stand alone lessons involving global music. They have helpfully included audio clips, YouTube links and some worksheets. I have had a good look through and there is some fantastic stuff here. It is also handy to have at hand in case an instant lesson is required for a supply teacher. I would recommend having a look through! Oxfam global music lesson plans

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I need to learn more about using audacity in the music room. Luckily for me Tim Brook has created some fantastic video tutorials. Visit his site Digital Glue to find out more

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bring me Sunshine!

Am planning to teach this song to year 3 so thought they would appreciate watching the comedy legends singing it themselves.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Using a metronome in the classroom

My classes have been fascinated by the metronome on my iphone. We have been using it to check if we can clap exactly on the beat and to check we aren't speeding up. I was surprised how soothing it was and for how long kids needed to listen before they could internalise the beat. A simple warm up somehow took up the whole of the lesson. However I was happy to let it over run as the children were concentrating so hard and a few of them seemed genuinely overjoyed at their new found ability to accent different beats. I used the metronome in conjunction with MES cards which show different 4 beat bars.

This has left me wondering if I should n't make the effort to use a metronome more often with all my classes. I have yet to find one for the smartboard but have bought a visual metronome app ( see pic above) for my ipad which I think the kids will love!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How does your brain remember all those lyrics?

Interesting article here about how your brain learns lyrics

Thanks to @musicodeon for pointing out

Monday, October 17, 2011

Body percussion

Caroline and I have been doing some work on body percussion with year 5. I found this clip which I think they will love!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Using picture books to teach music in key stage 1


Not sure what has happened but I noticed that this presentation had disappeared from the blog. Have posted up again.

ArtsBeat 2012 - training day with Merton Music Foundation

Yesterday was a brilliant training day for Merton teachers who will be taking part in the ArtsBeat2012 festival 3rd March to the 17th March 2012

There were 3 practical hands on sessions which gave ideas to take back to the classroom to try.

Session 1 : "From painting to sound to dance."

This was led by the brilliant Caroline Segollo. Starting with abstract sounds we explored moving isolated body parts. We then looked at Kandinsky and transferred those ideas to think of sounds from the strong lines and shapes. Using black strips to create grids Caroline showed how it was possible to provoke the children into using 3D spaces imaginatively and thoughtfully. She suggested some interesting and innovative music to use with the children from Penderecki and Steve Reich

Session 2 : Drama techniques

This was led by the talented Jo Fife. We looked at many different techniques that involved whole classes and used drama to elicit good quality language work from the children. One of the key things I learnt from this session was how little "teacher talk/instruction" is needed. Jo showed how it was possible to start the drama before the kids were even through the classroom door and how to talk "in role" rather than as teacher. By making the lesson very pacy and fast moving children are pushed further. Another key learning point for me was the forum theatre ideas Jo showed us. One of Jo's top tip was to use darkness in the classroom with a torch. Something I will be trying at St Teresa's as we do have blackout blinds in the classroom.

Session 3 : Body Percussion workshop.

Flavio was an excellent teacher and managed to transform a motley bunch of teachers into a percussion ensemble in a remarkably short space of time. Using a metronome on his iphone he soon had us clapping and stamping in time. He made us jump to check we had really internalised the beat. Most of us found it quite tricky but Flavio broke the learning down into small steps with plenty of time for practise and reinforcement before he moved us on. It was a really good experience being put in the position of learner and was a real reminder for me of how anxious children can feel when we push them out of their comfort zone.

Session 4 : Young Song Leaders

Soo Bishop has achieved absolutely amazing results with her big scale musical projects based around "Music is for Life" projects. This year she is embarking on an ambitious project to train 20 keystage 2 children from 75% of all Merton Schools to act as young song leaders. With her excellent training these pupils will be well placed to lead singing in their own schools and to support staff and pupils alike in developing an even stronger singing culture in the borough.
Schools are now forming small clusters to start the training which will begin in November 2012. Sarah from Merton Park School has developed an application form which schools can use to get children to apply for the role.

Finally we discussed the actual structure of the ArtsBeat2012 festival. There are a number of exciting events involving schools and the wider community planned. It looks incredibly exciting and I will outline some of them in a separate post next week.

I came away from the day really inspired and keen to try out some of the techniques I'd been shown in the classroom. I was really struck by how much talent and expertise we have within Merton Music Foundation and the experienced music/drama teachers in the borough. We really need to make sure we exploit this to the full as this kind of creative passion can really help kids unlock their own enthusiasms and creativity which can otherwise remain dormant.

Thank you MMF!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Ideas for vocal warm ups

Below is a video of the lovely Lara, who is demonstrating some brilliant ideas you can use with any primary school class to warm up children's voices. It was recorded at a" Teachmeet". I have never been to one but they look vastly superior to most cpd activities - largely because they are delivered by classroom practitioners with passion and vision.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Maths week at St Teresa's

I n honour of maths week I thought I would post up some songs and raps

Sunday, October 2, 2011

African Rhythms

I found this short film on YouTube that attempts to trace the origin of some popular African rhythms in everyday life. I shall be showing this to year 5 this week.

Black History Month

Last week Caroline taught me the song, "Ain't gonna let nobody turn me around". I was then able to teach this to the children at Poplar who sang it powerfully in singing assembly in preparation for Black History Month. I found this clip on YouTube where President Obama is exhorted to singalong!