Archive for the ‘Loud/soft’ Category

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Loud and Soft

February 9, 2014

In early childhood music class, we focus on exploring opposites in music: fast/slow, high/low, and loud/soft.  These are concepts that very young children can easily experience, demonstrate, and identify.

One of my students’ favorites is exploring soft and loud. We sing lullabies and talk about what might happen if you sang it too loudly. “The baby would wake up!” “He would start to scream!” (You can definitely tell which kids have little babies at home.)  We sing the song “Bye Lo, Baby, Oh” and rock our arms, as though cradling a baby. This helps to develop an internal sense of the beat, as well. This year, the song has a greater meaning for the kids as I am visibly pregnant. They love the idea that their song will be sung to my baby one day soon. Since the song only uses so and mi, we are able to explore high and low pitch. (I do so love when a song provides so many learning opportunities!)

Bye lo baby oh

Once we have talked about soft and loud, and what is appropriate for a lullaby, I share this gorgeous book with the students. They are transfixed by the illustrations as I sing All the Pretty Little Horses. The haunting melody is one of my favorites. It is so gratifying when you finish and the students start calling out, “Again! Again!”

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The students are now ready for one of the best Sesame Street videos around. I have to admit to not being a big fan of Elmo. Sorry, that little red guy really gets on my nerves. That being said, when paired with Rick Gervais, I just have to giggle. This is such a great example of loud and soft, and exactly why we sing lullabies gently.

My husband, also an elementary school music teacher, shared a great extension activity with me for loud and soft. He tells the story of a great castle. If it is close to Halloween, he might say it is haunted. The students are going to explore the castle, but they don’t want anyone to know they are there. They must be VERY quiet! He puts on “In the Hall of the Mountain King” by Edvard Grieg and the students begin to tiptoe around the rug. At the end of each phrase, during the rest in the melody, the students put their fingers to their lips and shush each other. As the music gets louder and faster, so do the students! After the activity we sit and discuss what happened. I don’t talk about it beforehand. It is so much more powerful for them to experience it in their bodies!

What do you do to explore loud and soft? Do you have any go-to songs or activities?

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