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 1: Performing- Playing

When teaching music, the key concepts of duration, dynamics, tone colour/timbre, pitch and structure/form should form the foundation of all lessons. During this tutorial, we learned how to play ‘Sansa Kroma’ using either a xylophone, metallophone or glockenspiel. The teacher gave us time to practise our individual parts before listening to each group separately to allow for assessment of individual students. Furthermore, it is important that students learn how to read music with apps such as ‘Music Interactive’ which can be very effective in developing this skill. Studies have shown children who study music have improved “aural and visual discrimination, co-ordination of hand, eye [and] mouth…discipline, co-operation and alertness as an individual, in a group or whole class”(Thomas, 1984, p. 12, as cited in Ewing & Gibson, 2011, p. 112).

This lesson was based on the Orff approach which encompasses improvisation, movement, classroom instruments and creativity (Choksy, Abrahamson, Gillespie, & Woods, 1986, as cited in Joseph, 2015, p. 3). The section for improvisation in ‘Sansa Kroma’, using the pentatonic scale, allows students to develop their creative expression. Teaching Orff-style in the classroom is assisted by having a range of instruments. Hence, enabling children to experiment with different untuned instruments such as maracas and bongos helps them develop an understanding of the role percussion has played in the music of different cultures (Music in Australia, 2015).

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

Joseph, D. (2015). ‘We did the how to teach it’: Music teaching and learning in Higher Education in Australia. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 40(7).

Music in Australia (2016). The Orff Approach. Retrieved March 5, 2016 from https://musicaustralia.org.au/discover/music-education/music-education-methodologies-approaches/the-orff-approach/

Appendix: ‘Sansa Kroma’ music sheet