All posts by masone

First experiences with Koto at ICJC

Grade 4 students have started learning about the koto. We visited the ICJC this week and learned about the important routines to prepare for koto playing:

  1. Take off shoes and put them in the cupboard
  2. Wash hands
  3. Collect cushion to sit on
  4. Carry koto correctly to position
  5. With the koto head towards the windows, place it gently on the floor
  6. Place a stand underneath the foot of the koto
  7. Sit on knees (on cushions) to be ready to play

Now we are all ready to start learning the koto!

Drum kit Inquiry – so much fun!

The Grade 4 students are using a drum kit for their class songs. As a result, a small drum kit presently resides in the Music room. This has been a great source of curiosity and joy as students from all grades have been allowed to have a short turn. Some students have chosen to inquire by themselves, while others have invited friends to help them figure out what to do. Some have tried to play patterns, others have some drum skills from private lessons to share, and others have been content to just listen to the drums’ sound and feel what it’s like to play them. Everyone agrees that playing drums is much harder than it looks!

Kindergarten- People use a variety of languages to communicate their ideas and feelings

Kindergarten students are inquiring into how can we tell a story using music to express feelings and ideas. First, students discussed what they thought an idea is and what a feeling is. Then we read the Dr. Suess story; ‘My Many Colored Days’, which links feelings to colours and animals. Students have since been linking percussion instruments with each feeling/colour to help tell the story through music. To do this, students have inquired into the musical opposites – high/low, soft/loud and fast/slow. They have discovered that an instrument can sound really different, depending on how it is played – if you play a woodblock slowly and softly, for example, is can sound like ‘brown’, but if you play it fast and loudly, it sounds more like orange!

“An idea is when you want to do something and you make a plan” Cole.

“A feeling is also if you feel to drink water, or if you feel colour or if you feel pain” Silas.

“A feeling is if you’re happy or sad” Caden….. “or angry” Grace.

“When you feel like you want to make a disco then that’s feelings” Emma…..”it’s like you’re feeling an idea” Cole

“Ideas are when you want to know something” Yuri…..”It’s like when you really want to have a really good idea” Grace.



Grade 3 Reflection on “What is Music?”

Students created human graphs to show agreement or disagreement in response to provocative statements as part of a reflection on their recent Unit of Inquiry.

  1. Music can be any sound, as long as a person makes that sound into music.
  2. John Cage was right when he said music was organised time buckets filled with sound, noise or silence.
  3. There is more than one way for an audience to behave or a performer to behave.
  4. Music is always a song and should sound nice.

The left side of the human graph is the “disagree” position and the right side is the “agree” position.

Some students were interviewed on why they chose their positions:

Grade 4 Musical Detectives

Grade 4 students have been musical detectives while figuring out a melody they know. They discovered how many pitches were in the song, showed the high and low pitches on their bodies and then sang in solfa (so, la, mi) with handsigns. Then they showed the shape of the melody on the board before figuring out how to write it on a two line stave! Great detective work!

ELC ‘A Little Seed’

ELC have been planting seeds, gathering leaves and inquiring into all things growing! In Music, we explored a poem by Mabel Watts called ‘A Little Seed’. First we spoke the poem with finger play and then expressed it through whole body movement with dancing scarves as props. E2 then used percussion instruments to tell the story of the poem. The students chose the sounds that they thought expressed each line of the poem. They then had to show a lot of control to play at the correct times and follow the instructions of the conductor.

A little seed for me to sow…..

A little earth to make it grow…..

A little hole, a little pat…..

A little wish, and that is that….

A little sun, a little shower,,,,

A little while, and then – a flower!