How do you describe yourself?
One of the ways I describe myself is as an educator, sometimes in music, other times in math and science. Other descriptions include: an author (of music patterns books like Popular 8 Note Songs) and a musician, sometimes singing, sometimes playing the piano, and sometimes playing the xylophone!
So I have started hosting Pop Up Music Classes so that more children can describe themselves as musicians too!
When I teach the class, I introduce four main parts of music. I am going to share these ideas with you with the hope that perhaps some of you will host your own Pop Up Music Class with the children in your community.
Four Musical Ideas:
When you introduce beat, first have the children cover their hearts with their hands and see if they can find their own musical beat that is happening inside of them. Clap along with a metronome to the beat of the average heart rate. Then you can have the children jump up and down and jog in place and discover that the beat of their hearts has gotten faster. Resting with their heads on the table allows their heart rates to slow, and so you can slow the ticking of the metronome. Using a metronome, discuss how beats can be fast or slow.
represent the beats in a four-count time signature. It takes longer to eat two pieces of pie than it does to eat one, so when you pretend to eat one piece of pie, say, “Plum,” and when you pretend to eat two pieces of pie say, “Ap – ple.” Three and four beats must be held even longer, so say, “Blue Ber – ry” and “Sweet Po-ta-to” for those longer beats.
Play Follow the Leader (or Call and Response) by saying a rhythm pattern and having the children repeating it.
Plum, Plum, Ap – ple, Sweet Po-ta-to, Ap – ple
Clap, Clap, Clap (hold) Clap (hold, hold, hold) Clap (hold)
3. Pitch: High note frequency and low note frequency
Bears talk with very low voices, so students on the left hand side of the class practice talking with very low voices. Mice talk with very high voices, so students on the right
Then all the bears and mice close their eyes and listen to the instructor play notes on a precision tuned Up-a-do Unlimited glockenspiel xylophone. The children on the left side of the class raise their hands if they think a “bear” (low) note is being played. The kids on the right side of the class raise their hands if they think a “mouse” (high) note is being played.
4. Dynamics: Loud and Soft
Can a bear speak softly? Can a mouse speak loudly? The children can practice loud and soft with their low and high voices.
Then sing the note colors and note names up and down the scale.
Many students learn best by listening, so you can show them that they can access free audio tracks of all the songs in the Up-a-do Unlimited Music Pattern Book online by just using a phone or computer. The free audio for this lesson is found at www.upadounlimited.com/12-page-book-audio.
Now it is time to hand out the glockenspiel xylophones! Each child in my classes is given an instrument to keep, but you can still go through this lesson plan if you are using a classroom set at a school, too.
To help everyone hold the mallet correctly, I suggest the children hold their hand out as though they are shaking hands with someone, and then slip the mallet into the hand with the thumb on top. It is important that the mallet “bounces” on the notes so the metal keys ring properly.
For one minute, everyone can experiment with the notes and play anything they want. (But it is important not to bang the keys!)
Now it is time to play a song! You can play “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in two ways: First, place the music pattern book that comes with each xylophone in front of each child and let
Or, you can put the books away and call out the colors or letters of the notes out loud so the students can follow the audio cues. Playing along with the free audio track for Twinkle Twinkle Little Star can be helpful too.
The main idea is to introduce the children to the resources they have available to experiment with music either on their own or with their families or classmates. And when the class is over, your students will all be able to describe themselves as… musicians!
Wishing you joy on your musical journey,