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Showing posts from January, 2013

Joyce/Ware Movement (The Snowman Dance) Part 3 of 3

The Snowman Dance
I do this every December with first grade, but my older kids ask to do it every year!  Make sure you have comfortable clothes, space to move, and a decent sound system.
Introducing the dance:
Snowman building discussion:   How do you make the perfect snowman?  Have the individuals figure out what they want the snowman to look, what materials they need, where those materials might be found, etc.  It's important that the class doesn't have an idea, but each individual imagines their own idea. 

Teaching the dance:
"We are going to make snowmen, and YOU are the snow.  You just fell on the ground.  Remember, snow falls very gently, it doesn't flop down.  Go be snow!"

Children get in their own space on the floor and are snow.  

"Remember your perfect snowman.  Close your eyes and picture it.  What do you want for the face?  What will it be wearing?  When the music plays, you will begin to roll yourself into a snowman.  This process takes about 1…

Joyce/Ware Movement (Parts on the floor) Part 2 of 3

You are the student!  Make sure you have comfortable clothes, room to move, and a sound system loud enough for you to hear.

Rules for Parts on the Floor:
Rules for Parts on the Floor
The Game:
Parts on the Floor game
The Music:
Miles Davis quartet "Blue in Green" from the Kinda Blue album.  It's an iconic recording.  I'm using this activity for introduction to the sound of Miles Davis and Cool Jazz for Middle School.  We're studying 20th Century popular music.  I'm also just having students explore "writing their names" to the music with no fade outs.

Print these pictures out and have students figure out how many parts they have on the floor.

Picture A: These are two individuals. They are not touching, so the boy has two parts and the woman has at least 3.  It is unclear if her palm is touching, if it is, the hand is one.  Also, it is unclear if she is on toes and knee or if her shin is on the floor, that is the difference of one or two parts.  I'd g…

Joyce/Ware Movement (To and Fro) Part 1 of 3

To and Fro
(I made up that name, you can have a naming contest for the game, just leave the results in comments please)  Objective: To concentrate listening skills on timbre and warm up the kinesthetic mind.   Materials: I use a conga drum and mallet.  I hit the head of the drum or the rim of the drum.  I have also done this game with just a table and chair, each surface had a different timbre.  You can beat a table and door frame or any other two surfaces with loud yet different timbres.
You are the student! You just walked into my room.  We're beginning a new game today!
Rules of Movement

To and Fro Background
I've referred to The Mary Joyce book several times on the blog, but unless you've actually experienced this kind of lesson, it's difficult to begin teaching it, especially if you are not primarily a dancer.  This month I'll be giving you some games I learned from Patrick Ware who got them from his training and The Mary Joyce Book.  I will teach them to you as if you…

It's the words! Alice Parker workshop and Robert Shaw

Listen to this.  Do the singers sing a strict ta ta-ti rhythm?  Is this piece sung in a jazz style with swung eighths?  Certainly not!  So why aren't the eighths straight?  

Enter Alice Parker, right hand of the great Robert Shaw and one of the great masterminds behind his famous Robert Shaw Chorale.  And by "mastermind" I don't mean that she knows more about choral singing than anybody else and is a wizard or sorceress.  No, I mean that she has stripped away the layers of bullshit that tend to accumulate on the music most choirs sing and she treats singing as what it is, a poetry-delivery-device!  Alice simplifies music and makes it easy and uncomplicated.  "I always go back to the words," she says.  "We begin and end with the words."

I attended a workshop given by this grand lady and it changed the way I taught my kids right away.  Usually I get excited about several octavos at  the annual choral workshop, but this year, I got extra excited abo…

NEH Opportunities

Did you know that you can take amazing classes at government expense AND get paid for doing it?!  It's true!  There are still some wonderful things about the government.  The National Endowment for the Humanities offers dozens of class selections. Stock up on PDPs, possibly getting all 150 of them in one, 5-week course.  Classes are 1-6 weeks, depending on the location and content.  The classes I am interested in are generally on the short side (1-2 weeks long) since my child is very young and we can't be separated for long.

Quick facts
Courses are offered in every section of the country
Courses offered around the world
Stipends paid upon successful completion of the course Stipends tend to be $1200
Courses are cultural, not just musical, so collaboration with classroom teachers can begin through NEH
You can apply for up to two NEH courses per year
You may not take the same course twice
You may only attend one course per year
How to inquire and apply
Here is a list of courses offered in…