ABOUT MS. GRAY
Vocal Performance, University of Kansas
I hope to engage students in the process of learning about music – a process that will continue on throughout their lives. All grades will work to develop a music vocabulary to promote music literacy. This includes reading and writing music, singing both secular as well as liturgical music, and listening.
Children love using their voices, and we will explore all the possible ways of expressing in song, chant, and speech. Different sounds and tone colors will be demonstrated by listening to recordings of different instruments and different voice types. As the children begin singing, we will examine the rote songs: Matching melody, identifying repeated patterns, describing the movement of the melody rhythmically and melodically.
Movement will be used to establish the idea of a steady, regular beat. We will use props such as scarves to move with the music, reflecting both the tempo and the rhythmic activity present in the music. As much as possible, we will talk about the music in descriptive terms telling how the music moves and how the music makes us feel.
Seasonal songs and games will be include as often as possible. All liturgical music will be reviewed in all classes to enhance the students’ participation in the music liturgy.
Kindergarten - 1st Grade
Listening to a wide variety of songs will reinforce melody recognition, mood, tone color (timbre) and both major and minor modes. Movement will frequently help to establish the feeling of a steady beat, demonstrate rhythms and tempo changes. Recognition of tone color as is demonstrated in hearing different instruments will begin.
“Peter and the Wolf” by Prokofiev will be a featured work that helps identify the instruments and their characteristic sounds. Related activities and recordings will be used to reinforce this learning. Emotional responses to the music will be discussed throughout the year. We will also learn seasonal songs and appropriate liturgical music.
2nd - 3rd Grade
Movement will continue to be an integral part of out weekly activities. Recognizing different rhythms and melodies will be stressed, looking for both repetitions and variations in each.
“The Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra” will help identify the various instruments. These instruments will be grouped according to families and their distinctive qualities will be discussed. In the classroom, I will use instruments as much as possible to add color and variety to our learning and singing of songs.
“Doe, a deer” (Sound of Music) will serve as an introduction to the major scale. As the year progresses and students become more familiar with reading and following the words for our songs, we will begin to discuss how music can tell both pitch and duration for the sound. This will include identifying the staff, recognizing notes, and understanding how measures help in organizing this new language of music.
All elements of music will be introduced and elaborated on: Rhythm, Melody, Tone Color/Timbre, Form, Harmony. Recorders will be introduced to aid in developing the self-discipline necessary to master reading notes and rhythm. Students will learn pitch and duration on the recorder which is a good preparation for band. It is a way to experience music-making outside their own bodies – in a new and fun way. In addition to the recorders, fourth graders will continue to sing rounds which will later lead to part-singing.
5th - 6th Grade
In addition to studying the standard elements of music, students will recognize and discuss the broad characteristics of the different periods of music. Students will study Bach, Handel, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Copland, Bernstein, and many more. Sight-singing will be introduced, which will challenge the students and help build musical independence. As in all grades, seasonal music will be included as well as the liturgical music necessary for full participation in the music liturgy.
7th - 8th Grade
Depending on the students’ abilities, similar material is presented as in Grade 6 but at a more complex level. When the basic elements of music have been mastered (melody, rhythm, form, timbre, and harmony), further emphasis will be placed on the student’s presentation of music.
Different periods of music will be examined, not only for developments in the field of music, but also with an eye toward how music is integrated with the art and literature of the same period. Students will be expected to tie major historical events into their time line for music. Exploration is the key to this focus – inquiring how music reflects the history of the times and how it may have an effect on its culture. As time permits, we may explore one opera of the standard repertoire.
Students will continue to work on sight-singing, will do some notation (writing of music), as well as listening critically. As adolescents, music plays a huge role in their lives. With the development of a new music vocabulary, a new focus will be made to analyze and react to this music. As a bonus, some examples of contemporary music will be listened to and analyzed in class. As always, both secular and liturgical music will be sung in the classroom.