Video 1: Masai children singing
The song they are singing seems to be a call and response with one of the children being the leader that calls something out and the rest of the group joins in and repeats. There are two parts to the song, with the change indicated by the leader calling out quicker and while the response is happening and the second part has an addition to what was already being called out. I think that this connects to what Ysaye Barnwell led in that this group of kids became a community that worked together and didn’t need a conductor or anything, they were listening to each other and found a way to work together to have a musical and community experience. Their voices are all high, but that is to be expected with younger kids and having the higher pitch makes it project more. They all sound like one, and they are able to stay in tune with each other. Their voices are not very sing-songy but they are very clear. They all seem to be enjoying themselves, they are moving and singing together and look like they are just having a good time.
Video 2: PS22 Chorus “EMPIRE STATE OF MIND Pt. XXII” Jay-Z & Alicia Keys
This song was probably chosen for these kids because it is something that they can relate to and are able to enjoy singing. As the song goes on I noticed that they had movements for the chorus and as they kept singing it they were getting more into it. The song is getting them excited, and I think that is because it is a motivating song. The leader is at the piano, and as he is playing he is giving them cues on coming in and cutting off, and just to get them excited and more engaged. I think that their singing was really good, they didn’t sound like inexperienced kids, they like what they are doing. It was getting more in tune as it went on, and it was most in tune in the chorus, especially when they were dancing to it and the range was higher, where everyone was comfortable. At the end everyone was getting excited and everyone was moving, and they ended it and everyone was happy, there was even a kid that did a happy dance and the leader was very encouraging.
Video 3: Children singing at Carden Academy Huntington Beach Music. Carden Academy Performing Arts
The children sing the refrain best because it is the only thing that repeats. The melody is the same with different words, but they don’t always catch onto that so the teacher does a lot of the singing for them and they just jump in when they get to something that they recognize. They sang the beginning with a lot of confidence and that kind of went away with each verse. This shows me that children’s music should be very repetitive so that they can learn it and feel confident when singing. The students in the video did a good job staying with the teacher, so they can learn it, but they did much better when they knew what was coming up. Their voices are all very high, and the teacher did not choose an appropriate key because it was a little low for them and she was basically singing to them the whole time. At the end they were all together, because it was the refrain, and there was a kid that was imitating the teacher and hung over the rest of them just a little.
Video 4: Cantare Con Vivo: Instructor Lydia Mills teaches South American Folk Song
I think that the children are likely to enjoy the song because it has a cool beat and a funny story that they can imaging and (possibly) relate to. It is repetitive, even within itself, and it is short. It is like a story, so if they need a way to learn it you could just ask them what would come next. They would sing it well because it is very simple and the melody is repetitive and it does not require a large range. Like we do in class, I would ask them to listen as I sing it a few times and each time ask them something to listen for, like “what kind of cat is he?” and “what does he like to do?” until they are all the way through and are singing it because they have already heard it multiple times.
Video 5: Phoenix Children’s Chorus National Anthem at Diamondbacks Game – August 29, 2015
The children’s ages looked like they ranged from elementary to high school, but they were all wearing different shirts, so they were separated and then put together for the song. They all sounded really good, considering the age range and pace of the song. The SSB is a song that you start to learn in elementary school, so the kids probably didn’t have a hard time learning it, but it was different because it was a choral arrangement. The melody was not sung as if it were a soloist, but there were independent parts, and I was a little surprised that the younger kids were able to follow everything (I think they were singing the melody, and the older girls and low voices had different parts). I don’t think that I have ever heard of this group.
Video 6: Ah Poor Bird!
The children are doing an okay job at first with following her, but then things get a little weird and the kids change it to major when she stops singing. I think that they do this because a lot of songs are in major and if they aren’t looking for that difference they aren’t going to notice it. As they become more independent they are gaining confidence, but it is wrong, and once she says that it is a sad song some of them seem to get it and at the end it’s not perfect, but it looks like they are actually trying to make it sound minor. I think that she was more worried about getting them to sing together and in a round than tonality, and once they were able to focus on the big picture (singing the round).
I learned that children can actually sing, that you can expect them to try and be successful. The songs that they sing have to be fairly repetitive so that they can remember both words and melody, but they can do it. Even if it is just getting them to sing a chorus/refrain while the teacher sings the verse, they can eventually sing the song and be a part of something and successful in what they can do. They can even move with music, it would make it more fun and easier to remember. It is important to be supportive of children singing, negativity will not get them anywhere, and you have to scaffold it in a way so they always feel like they are actively involved in what it is they are singing. I like the questioning strategy that we use in class. It is not good to just throw a song at students, especially in a non-musical way like having them say the lyrics then putting them to a melody, because they won’t get anything out of it, or to get upset with them when they can’t figure something out. I think that the strategies we have used in class of constant repetition and asking questions are really good ways of teaching students, and not letting them get lost, or making them feel like they are doing something wrong. It is also good to give students the opportunities to make choices, in class and their songs, because it can make them feel more comfortable in participating and actually singing. Singing for them is fun. I don’t think that most of them really care all that much about being accurate, they just want to have fun and create something. I have forgotten about this aspect of music over the years, and watching these videos reminded me of that. When a student is trying, they should receive constructive feedback and encouragement rather than get scolded for not doing it 100% correct, like the “Ah Poor Bird!” leader.
- Get the children involved in the learning process: It is important to get students interested in what they are learning, and making it more accessible to them by having them participate rather than telling them to do something. At each level they can get more involved, so it always seems like they are doing something and learning more, and the more you see them learning and participating, the more you know about how they learn and their abilities.
- Teach them something that they want to know: Teach them something that they want to learn and that they can take to other aspects of their lives, so that they enjoy learning about music and develop an actual interest in it and become more independent. When you teach them something that they are interested in or related to what they like, you have students that are actually willing to learn from you.
- Know yours and your students’ abilities: It is important to start teaching where students are at in terms of skill and knowledge so that you are not boring them or making them not like music, and you keep them at a level where they are confident enough to participate. You have to know what you have the ability to teach, and learn from the students and what they are like so that you can be confident in what you are doing in your classroom, or work towards learning something that you can teach.