Beginning

Mystery instrument game: Students are listening to the sound of a hidden instrument and guessing its size, shape and material based on its sound.

Student #1

A student’s ‘Sound Detective’ chart showing their thinking process- they noted the Sound Properties of the mystery instrument being played, imagined what it might look like with a drawing, noted their prior knowledge they were using to infer, and then made their guess.

Sound Detective chart

Student #2

Quotes from student journals reflecting on the mystery instrument game: “Inferring the instruments was like inferring what we read because you have to listen, HARD.”  

“You find clues.”  

“It’s the same thing but it’s FUN.”

From Mrs. Bohman: “This is phenomenal.  They put the mental pictures together with what they were hearing and imagining.  This is missing from the way we teach reading.”

Student #3

Next, students were invited to invent a musical instrument based on someone they know.  They chose a character (age, size, mood, name), identified the properties of their character’s voice (pitch, volume, tone, sustain, rhythm) and designed an instrument that according to those properties.

“My character is my mom.  Her voice is smooth, but not TOO full of smooth.”

An invented instrument, "The Kookoomom"

Middle

Students refined their designs, using and testing their understanding of sound properties.  Then we moved into the music classroom to get our hands on some drums.

Student #1

Click ‘play’ to see two students describing their amazing invented instruments.

 

 

Designing an instrument after a baby sister

 

Student #2

The students then had a chance to present their invented instruments to a class of 3rd graders, explaining the character their instrument was based on, the sound qualities of its voice, and the design decisions they made to produce that voice.

Students presenting their invented instruments

Mrs. Bohman: “This totally ties in literacy, evidence, science, communication and art!”

Student #3

In music class, the students explored the frame drums without any instruction- discovering on their own what sounds they could produce, and naming them with their own vocables.  Some favorites:  the “slammer-G”, the “flip-flop”, and the “crawler.”

Discovering sounds on the frame drum and naming them

End

Presenting vocables: descriptive words for sounds on the drum. Every culture has them!

 

 

 

Student #1

After discovering their own vocables, the students learned the Arabic system of vocables (Dum/ Tek) and how to produce those sounds on the drum.  They worked on playing together in time, distinguishing between beat and rhythm, and notation.

Students learn frame drum technique

Student #2

After gaining some facility on the drums, they then listened to recordings of early american music, translated their favorite vocal rhythms onto the drums, and composed a short piece called “Sometimes.’    Sometimes

Student #3

Click play to see the students’ original composition called “Sometimes”

 

Year One
2011-2012
Year Two
2012-2013
Year Three
2013-2014

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