Play Orchestra Conductor!
Start by watching a video of a conductor conducting an orchestra. Point out to your child how the Conductor keeps the beat with his baton, but also uses his face and body to convey expression, dynamics (when to play loud or soft), tempo (speed of play), and even articulation (smooth or choppy). These are ALL things we’re learning about this month.
Listen to pieces of music and pretend to 'conduct' along with them. Folk songs or other familiar melodies could be a good place to start. Next, take turns being a Conductor while the other follows by playing any instrument or even home made sound. You can use a pencil, drinking straw, or stick as your baton! You go first (no talking!), and have your child practice following your gestures...for example:
· When the beat pattern of the conductor is slow, instruments play slowly (largo). When they get faster, play fast (allegro)!
· The size of the conducting gestures indicates how loud or soft to play: large gestures = loud (forte), small gestures = soft (piano). Remind your child to get louder and softer as you change the size of your gestures.
· Articulation is also indicated by the conductor. Smooth, flowing movement indicates smooth & connected playing (legato), while sharp, sudden gestures indicate choppy & disconnected playing (staccato). Now Switch places and HAVE FUN!
What to Expect
· Engaging and interactive LIVE Virtual Classes
· Curriculum-based lessons
· Singing, movement, instruments, puppetry, musical stories & more!
· Weekly LIVE classes with a Kidstunes instructor to help create continuity and stability for students.
How to Prepare
· Set up your device and free Zoom account prior to the class.
· Prepare a dedicated space where children can sing and move!
· Classroom teachers and parents - please interact during the class and participate with students (doesn’t have to be a large space).
· Keep instruments nearby for your students (egg shakers, maracas, drums, etc.).
· No instruments? Students can make their own to use during music class! We will be showing you how and sending DIY instrument ideas.
· If possible, have scarves (or any lightweight fabric) available for creative movement.
The Families of Instruments & The Orchestra unit is a great topic to explore just as we finish making our own instruments out of household materials. The families of instruments are categorized by size, shape, construction/material, and how their tone - or initial vibration - is produced to create a special sound! The Families include:
Strings - Strings form the heart of a symphony orchestra, and while all of these instruments have strings, some are plucked & some are bowed. Examples of mostly bowed instruments include violin, viola, cello, and double bass. The plucked instruments include guitar, banjo, harp, and ukulele.
Woodwinds - Each woodwind has a long, tube-shaped air column and produce sound in three ways: by blowing across a mouth hole (flute and piccolo), by using a single wooden reed (clarinet and saxophone), or by using a double reed (oboe and bassoon).
Brass - The brass family consists of the wind instruments made of brass. All of the modern brass instruments, except the trombone which uses a slide, have valves which route air through the tubing for specific distances to produce a particular pitch. The brass instruments include trumpet, French horn, tuba, trombone, and baritone.
Percussion - The percussion family has the largest variety of instruments, and students will be most familiar with these since we use them in our classes each week. They’re grouped together because they are all made to sound by striking, shaking or scraping. Some of the most familiar members of this family are cymbals, triangle, maracas, bells, xylophone, tympani and of course drums!
Students can enjoy exploring how all of the “families” work together in the Orchestra (see online resources to the left) with the help of Conductor of course. This person keeps the beat and directs every aspect of the music, including tempo, dynamics, expression, and more - ALL without uttering a sound.
We hope you all are staying healthy and doing well, despite everything that has unfolded in the last month with COVID-19. It is surely an adjustment for us all!
We are setting up Virtual Music Classes for our centers that are still open and serving the community AND for those students/families who are at now at home. This is new territory for Kidstunes and our Instructors, but we are training, testing platforms, to bring these exciting LIVE Music Classes to you as quickly as possible. Please continue to look for communication from us over the next few days via email, our website and our Facebook page.
We were still able to get in lots of fun during the month of March in our music classes discovering Tone Color (special qualities of sound), and how it distinguishes the differences in natural sounds, voices, & instruments. To further experience why each sound is unique, students enjoyed making their own instruments from everyday materials (some brought home for family play - others kept in the classroom for school play!) Talk to your child about what kind of instrument they made (name, family it’s from, special sound, etc.). We will be sending more great ideas for DIY instruments to make & play at home soon!
Please visit our Facebook page often as we will be posting many links and videos to help keep your children engaged and to continue their musical journey. Music is good for the soul and mind, so be sure to keep singing and moving!