Week 7: Integrating music in the wider curriculum

This week’s focus on connecting music and literacy involved creating a sound story linked to the picture book, ‘Henry and Amy’ which is a quality text. It is important that teachers choose quality children’s literature which includes the potential to sustain engagement, is multilayered, characterised by expressive language and images as well as make connections with universal themes (Ewing & Gibson, 2011). ‘Henry and Amy’ is an excellent resource in music lessons because it focuses on opposites and allows children to create opposing sounds with various instruments.

There is also a strong connection between mathematics and music which originated from the ancient Greeks whom believed “music was considered as a strictly mathematical discipline, handling with number relationships, ratios and proportions” (Beer, 1998). There have been more recent studies documenting how understanding rhythm or the pattern of beats over time can translate to mathematical understandings (Catterall, 2009, as cited in Ewing & Gibson, 2011). Examples of activities to improve students’ listening include name rhythms and ‘huggy bear’ where students form groups according to the metre of music. However, in today’s society, teachers should focus on the creative arts aspect of music whilst still making links to mathematical concepts.

Beer, M. (1998). How do mathematics and music relate to each other? Retrieved April 27, 2016 from http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~jjn27/mathandmusic.pdf

Ewing, R. & Gibson, R. (2011). Transforming the Curriculum through the Arts. South Yarra: Palsgrave Macmillan.

Appendix: Henry and Amy- A Sound Story

Henry and Amy- A Sound Story

Week 6: Listening and Organising Sound

This week, we learnt about the importance of selecting suitable music for listening activities to develop children’s appreciation of music. Developing children’s understanding of how music works involves them appreciating the different constituent parts that make up the whole and appreciating the contexts in which the music is produced (Jones, 2007). In order for students to identify what instruments are being played in a particular musical piece, they need to be competent in identifying the sounds of various instruments beforehand. Furthermore, students need to be taught musical vocabulary such as forte and allegro to describe the dynamics and tempo of a piece.

In this tutorial, we also engaged in composing music by using GarageBand on iPad. I intend to use this application as a primary teacher because the use of ICT facilitates a teaching style that allows for the integration of the curriculum elements of performing, composing, listening and appraising (Burnard & Finney, 2007). Focusing on composing, we explored how to create different sounds such as a suspenseful drone and a terrified heartbeat by using the different instruments on GarageBand. The benefits of using this technology in classrooms includes motivating children to learn, enhancing their ability to create and analyse music, and allowing teachers to differentiate or make learning meaningful to all students (Linde, 2016).

Burnard, P. & Finney, J. (2007). Music Education with Digital Technology. London: Continuum International Publishing Group.

Jones, N. (2007). Listen Up! Developing an appreciation of music. Retrieved April 14, 2016 from http://www.open.edu/openlearn/history-the-arts/culture/music/listen-developing-appreciation-music

Linde, S. (2016). Technology in the Music Classroom. Retrieved April 14, 2016 from http://study.com/academy/lesson/technology-in-the-music-classroom.html

Annotated video file- The Ice Dance from Edward Scissorhands

Tone colour

What is the first instrument heard in this piece? Harp

What family of instruments enters next? Strings

Why do you think the composer used a “music box” as part of the instrumentation? The composer may have used it to portray feelings of innocence, love, wonder and joy in dancing.

What voice range can be heard in the choir? Soprano

Dynamics/Expressive Qualities

What words would you use to describe this piece? Hope, miracle, peaceful, sadness, innocence

What images do you think of when hearing this piece? A magical castle, ballroom dancing

Describe the dynamic changes in the piece.
Both diminuendo (getting softer) and crescendo (getting louder)



Week 5: Performing- Singing and Moving

This week’s focus on singing gave me an excellent insight into how to teach singing across the different grades. The voice is the one instrument that we all have and we are all able to sing (NSW DEC, 2011).

During this tutorial, we engaged in improvisation where we were required to create two lines of 4 beats each about something that gave us the blues which is a topic all children can relate to. This task would involve students drawing on their literacy skills and can be extended to include “reading, creating and exploring various forms of poetry to discover the rhythm of the words and structure of a poem” (Ewing & Gibson, 2011, p. 125).

As a primary teacher, it is vital that I encourage all children to participate in singing and combine it with some moves to develop performance skills. Giving children opportunities to “find their voices in the safe comfort of singing with others; and when they learn about the strength of good posture, and how to project and be clear about the words of the songs…their confidence increases” (Wheeler, 2014). This confidence can lead to students working collaboratively in performances which provides them with tangible acknowledgement and encouragement.

Ewing, R. & Gibson, R. (2011). Transforming the Curriculum through the Arts. South Yarra: Palsgrave Macmillan.

NSW DEC (2011). Finding our voices. Retrieved April 11, 2016 from http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/primary/creativearts/assets/music/pdf/singing2ps.pdf

Wheeler, J. (2014). How teachers can help children enjoy singing. Retrieved April 11, 2016 from https://www.britishcouncil.org/voices-magazine/how-teachers-can-help-children-enjoy-singing