Musical Children in the Making

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APRIL 2018

Musical Moments


RECYCLE empty containers from your kitchen into a drum set.  Add kitchen utensils and your child can explore the world of sound!

What You’ll Need:

♪ empty containers such as oatmeal canisters, coffee cans, cookie tins, jars, tissue boxes, cereal boxes, etc.
♪ masking tape or craft glue
♪ wooden or metal spoons, spatulas, even chop sticks, etc.
♪ music from a radio or CD player
♪ uncooked rice, beans, popcorn, pasta, or anything that rattles
1. Save a variety of empty containers. Show them to your child and talk about what was in each one.
2. If possible, allow them to decorate the outside of the container with crayons, markers, stickers, etc.
3. Invite your child to tap on them with hands. Add rice, beans, or any rattling material into some of them & seal.  Talk about the differences in the sound now.
4. Offer various kitchen utensils and let them explore the different sounds produced by each one.
5. Invite them to make a "drum set" by taping containers of various sizes/shapes together.

Turn on some music and encourage your child to "play" along. Clap or play to the beat & encourage your child to keep the beat on the drums.

· Which "drumstick" did you like best? Which “drum” was your favorite?  Which made the best sound? Why?

· If you were in a band, which instrument would you like to play? Could you pretend to play that now to the music?  How could we make that instrument?

March - Families of Instruments & the Orchestra

   The Families of Instruments & The Orchestra unit begins just as we finish making our own instruments out of household materials.  Recently discovering Tone Color and how every sound is unique from others, we now explore “formal” instruments & how they 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. 

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).  Pitch is controlled by the number of holes covered.

Brass - The brass family consists of the wind instruments made of brass.  All of the modern brass instruments, except the tr0mbone which uses a slide, have valves which route air through the tubing for specific distances to produce a particular pitch.  

Percussion - This has the largest variety of instruments in the percussion family, and students will be most familiar with these since we use them in our classes each week. 

Students will enjoy exploring  how the families of instruments all work together in the Orchestra with the help of the Conductor.  This person keeps the beat and directs every    aspect of the music, including tempo, dynamics, expression, and more - ALL without uttering a sound! 

​​Lara's Letter

What fun we had 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 them about what kind of instrument they made (name, family it’s from, special sound, etc.).  Then, play some music - or make some music of your own - and let them accompany with their new creation!  Dance!  Sing along!  Enjoy!

   This month we’ll explore the Families of Instruments of the Orchestra (String, Brass, Woodwind, and Percussion) & the ever-important Conductor!  Why is each family grouped as they are? How do they compare to your family (similarities/differences)?  Can you be a conductor silently keeping the beat, or pantomime playing an instrument from each family & imitate their sound?  Consider a family excursion to an orchestral performance - or enjoy watching one - see what your child notices!