The core concepts I teach in kindergarten music classes are important, but I barely remember how I learned them. Maybe it was my favorite episode of The Magic School Bus, In the Haunted House. Sound goggles and over-sized instruments teaching about vibration and sound waves certainly made an impression on me. Do you remember learning the difference between high and low? Or between loud and soft? Bringing myself back to these fundamentals strengthened my own understanding and helped me find ways for my students to understand them as well. Reading some of Bransford, Brown & Cocking’s (2000) How People Learn on my surprise day off helped me frame these seemingly simple topics in my lessons this week. Knowing that it takes at least eight seconds for a third grader to remember a visual had me wondering how long it would take for a student to hear and process a new sound!
I wrote an essay titled Assessing Basic Music Concepts to formalize my thoughts after this week of teaching and reading. It explores some activities I have used, how to integrate technology into music, and why exploring a concept in various contexts matters. The activities mentioned I have done with my students to varying levels of success depending on the classroom culture. If you try any of these with your own students, let me know at @LindsayLuft on Twitter! In the meantime, I am going back to trying to be the music teacher version of Ms. Frizzle.
National Research Council. (2000). How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School: Expanded Edition (pp. 51-78). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
Rlouisell2010. (Not dated). Xylophone Instrument Vector [image]. Retrieved from: https://www.goodfreephotos.com/albums/vector-images/xylophone-instrument-vector-clipart.png [Accessed 24 Jan. 2019].