Week 8 – Incorporating Dance in the Wider Curriculum

 

This final dance tutorial allowed us to explore, not only how we can incorporate dance with other KLA’s but also gave us a glimpse at what creating a dance unit of work would entail. Whilst the tutorial itself, included very limited practical elements, I think that the collaboration of small groups to create a unit of work allowed us to have great insight into what our future teaching practices will involve and how readily we can incorporate different learning strands within the dance curriculum. A particularly powerful point that was raised throughout the tutorial was the fact that students will often remember dance performances at school from when they were much younger (as oppose to remembering what they did in maths or English per say) and reflecting on my own schooling experiences this is very much true. With this in mind, I think it is our responsibility to as future teachers to collaborate and use problem solving to improve our teaching strategies in order to provide meaningful learning experiences (Gibson & Ewing, 2011).

 

Reference:

Gibson, R., & Ewing, R. (2011). Transforming the curriculum through the arts. South Yarra, Vic: Palgrave Macmillan

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Week 7 – Dance: The Use of Space

During this week’s tutorial we looked at how to incorporate the elements of space in dance. These elements included things such as direction, dimensions, shapes, formations, locomotion/non-locomotion, as well as a particular focus on general and personal space. The warm up for this tutorial was led by a student, which I believe in theory can be a very good idea as students will want to interact with their peers work, however, in practice I do think it is of great importance to allow students to decide for themselves if they would like to lead the warm-up as oppose to picking students as putting some students too far out of their comfort zone could actually damage any confidence they had built up. As our warm-up was led by a confident student we were able to explore some different elements of dance such as interpreting movements on different levels and in different directions.

A short activity in groups allowed us to use stimulus words such as arrow, wall, screw, and ball to gain perspective and create an 8 count routine that forced students to think cognitively in order to move around the space. Once again, feedback was immediate and extremely useful in terms of allowing us to adapt ourselves in order to create future teaching programs.

Finally a short routine of 2 counts of 8 was created and once again this was entirely student driven. Any style of movement was allowed to be used as 2 students demonstrated what they had come up with to the entire the class. The class then formed pairs before interpreting the routine they had just been taught with the added stimulus words of advance & retreat, above & below, through & around to add their own twist to the dance. The dance also had an overarching theme of homelessness and once pairs had come to a point where they were satisfied with their own interpretation of the dance, an auditory element was added and students were able to perform their dance to backing music.

(Still shot of a dance depicting the feeling of homelessness)

Overall, I think this last activity would be an extremely successful activity to run in a stage 3 class over a number of weeks. It allows students to be creative whilst also performing to a given set of stimuli.

Week 6 – Dance: Dynamics and Effort

In this week’s tutorial we looked at how dynamics and effort can affect the composition of dance. Through the use of given qualities such as sudden, sustained, heavy, light, direct and indirect, we explored how different movements can be controlled and implemented. After being broken into groups we were given a set of these qualities, for example, sudden/heavy, as well as stimulus words such as explode, punch and dart. In our groups we had to create s mall 8 count string of movements that we could then teach to the rest of the class. The great thing about this activity, is that it allows you to observe your peers, however, perhaps more importantly also allows to you receive immediate feedback as to how you might implement such an activity in the classroom.

It also cannot be denied that there is most definitely a value in integrating student generated moves within a class lesson as it will often lead to increased student engagement as most students will take pride in being able to perform their own small routine in front of their peers. Moreover, it this type of activity will help to develop the decision making skills of students (Stefanou et. al, 2004). However, in saying this, the use of teacher-designed choreography is still absolutely invaluable in the classroom as was noticed as we came together as class to perform a small routine (Matilda’s “Revolting Children”). Students will be able to enjoy a sense of accomplishment in working with their teacher and peers to create a well-rehearsed routine.

 

 

REFERENCE

Stefanou, C.R., Perencevich, K.C., DiCinto, M. & Turner, J.C. (2004).

Week 5 – Dance: Use of the body

This week’s tutorial saw us looking at how the body is used as the main instrument for dance. To begin we looked at the 3 main strands of dance, these being:

  • Composition
  • Performance
  • Appreciating

We then focused on the elements of dance:

  • Action
  • Space
  • Time
  • Relationships
  • Dynamics
  • Structures

And how these elements allow us to work on a number of different performance skills, namely:

  • Coordination
  • Strength
  • Balance
  • Flexibility
  • Endurance/Stamina

A very successful part of this tutorial was breaking up students into groups of 5 or 6 and assigning them a performance skill before allowing them 5mins to come up with a small routine to demonstrate and teach tot the class. The great thing about this is the fact that it is not assessed which prevents students from becoming nervous whilst also allowing them to be creative in their presentations. The immediate feedback was also extremely useful.

One point that was particularly powerful during the tutorial was getting each student to give their own definition of dance and seeing the varied responses that came back. I think with a topic such as dance, it is important to allow students to be creative with their responses, particularly with older stages. Another great activity we took part in was coming up with a simple 16-count dance to incorporate the core body movements of turns, jumps, balance/stillness, travel and gesture. This allowed us to be creative with a purpose and is an activity that could easily be integrated in future classrooms.

Week 4 – Integrating Music with other KLA’s

Although at first, it may seem tricky to integrate music into the wider curriculum, there are actually many options that will allow teachers to incorporate music in other subject areas. Through the tutorial, it was quite easy to see how one picture book could be used to create a number of activities, such as creating a rap, using instruments to represent characters and creating a treehouse with musical items to represent interpretations of the book. Moreover, “International research (e.g. Catterall, 2002, 2009; Deasey, 2002; Fiske, 1999) shows us unequivocally that ensuring that Arts experiences are at the centre of formal learning contexts, rather than relegated to the extra-curricular, has the potential to enhance students’ imaginative and creative capacities while improving their overall learning outcomes in other curriculum areas such as literacy and numeracy” (Ewing & Gibson, 2011, p.1). Therefore, as well as having focused music lessons, there should strive to plan cross-curricular lessons in order to engage students across KLAs.

A few examples of where music can fit into other KLA’s include:

Maths

  • Finding patterns within music
  • Counting beats per bar
  • Measuring lengths of bars
  • Surveys about preferred music

English

  • Poems
  • Lyrics
  • Story Structure
  • Creating music with a story as stimulus (e.g. Billy Goats Gruff)

Science and Tech

  • Experiments with vibrations
  • Sound waves and amplification
  • Appstore activities (Garage Band)
  • Size of a string or instrument effecting the sound produces
  • How soundproof rooms work

Creative Arts

  • Music in film
  • Drawing an instrument
  • How music sets a mood

HSIE

  • Change in music over time
  • Music from around the world
  • Instruments used to mimic environmental sounds
  • Impact of music
  • Use of music in religious practice

 PDHPE

  • Music to represent feelings/emotions
  • Different styles of dance

 

REFERENCE

Ewing, R., & Gibson, R. (2011). Transforming the curriculum through the arts. Melbourne: Palgrave Macmillan.

Week 3 – Singing & Moving

In this week’s tutorial we looked at singing and moving. One of the great things about singing and moving is quite simply the fact that you are able to do both of these things anywhere and at any time you like and it will cost you nothing. I think there is a real opportunity with singing and moving in the music classroom to really add an element of enjoyment and get students loving music.

As far as the more technical aspects go, there are a number of things I learnt during the tutorial that will definitely be of great use in the classroom. As an example, things such as posture, breathing, resonance and phrasing require particular attention, however, the one I found most interesting was articulation as it has been proven that “because songs are filled with rhymes, alliteration, and different sound patterns, they actually celebrate the sounds of language” (Canizares, 2009) and in doing so give students the chance to practice learning new words through song. There are also a number vocal warm up techniques I have learned that can be used immediately prior to a singing lesson:

  • 1,121 (pitch accuracy)
  • 1, 1-2, 1-3, 1-4,1-5 (pitch interval accuracy )
  • You know New York, You need New York, you know you need unique New York (articulation)
  • hubba bubba bubba bubble gum 54321 (bring head voice down)
  • Mee – meh – mah – moh -moo (range extension and tone)
  • 1-3 2-4 3-5 4-2 1 *
  • si- ng (octave interval and voice placement)
  • I take a breath (breathing)

Another very important point to focus on, particularly in regards to future teaching implications, is the choosing of material for students to perform. With modern technology, students are so easily exposed to so much content, so it is important to choose appropriate songs that will be beneficial to student learning. Things such as the vocal range, pitch and melodies all need to be taken into consideration. Moreover, I think it is also very important to challenge students and not have the entire class simply singing a song but to play with the structure and to break students into groups and sing certain parts of the song to have a more satisfying and enjoyable experience.

Reference:

Canizares, S. (2009). The Importance of Singing. Phoenix: Scholastic.

Week 2 – Playing & Performing

 

During this week we looked at the actual performing and playing of instruments as well as learning how to read rhythms and melodies whilst creating simple accompaniments. Whilst there is no doubt that all aspects of music are important I think that the actual playing of music should be given an intensive focus as this the aspect of music that most students will look forward and take in enjoyment out of.  In fact it has been suggested that all children require an artistic outlet and that they playing of music may be a student’s vehicle of expression (Halloway, 2011). With this is mind, it is absolutely the role of the teacher to do everything they can to provide a fulfilling and enjoyable experience during music.

One resource that readily makes this a possibility is the Jellybeans Music program. The Jellybeans program that we used during the tutorial is one that supplies the following:

  • 10 great arrangements chosen for their diverse musical appeal.
  • Attractive large format score (63cm x 45cm)
  • Accompanying CD with LIVE music from Symphony Orchestras to Jazz Bands.
  • Comprehensive Teacher’s book with outcomes and indicators, graded sequence of learning, extension activities and glossary of terms for each piece.
  • Teaches the concepts of music – beat, rhythm, metre, tempo, tone colour, dynamics and structure with just a set of untuned classroom percussion instruments.

Through experiencing the Jellybeans music myself in the tutorial, I would say that this would be invaluable to have at any school. I think it’s great that they provide music that can be played untuned instruments with the latter being a great way to introduce students to reading sheet music.

As far as implications for my future teaching, I strongly believe that I could deliver quality music programs to students with the aid of the Jellybeans program.  The simply layout and use of different colours makes it very easy to cater for students and allow them to play different parts of a certain piece and is a great way to allow students to begin to explore the introductory concepts of music

rob-jel1s
An example of Jellybean sheet music for untuned percussive instruments. Instruments could be grouped based on their characteristics with each group playing a different colour

Reference:

Halloway, S. (2011). Music In The Classroom. (3rd ed.). Surrey: Houghton Mifflin.

Link to My Jeallybeans Music: http://www.myjellybeansmusic.com/shopAU

Week 1 – Listening and Appreciating

Listening and Appreciating is a very important aspect of music that can often be overlooked in favour of the creation of music. There are five main aspects of music that students should be allowed to focus on and these are:

  • Duration
  • Structure
  • Pitch
  • Dynamics
  • Tone Colour

If teachers are able to play students music and give them structured questions to point them in the right direction to analyse the music (e.g Describe hoe the instruments are played – TC, Describe the temp – Dur) then students will be able to begin to have a better understanding and appreciation for the music being played. An app which would also help students to achieve this is garage band.

remove_Apple_GarageBand

Garage Band is a great resource for all teachers and prospective teachers alike. It is very user friendly and in a world that is becoming more technologically accessible (meaning more schools have IPad’s/laptops etc), it gives students the ability to access a whole range of instruments that schools otherwise may not be able to afford.

As someone who is not naturally musically gifted, I found the app very easy to use once a small amount of teacher demonstration had been completed. I think in terms of future teaching practices, the idea of giving students a written task to complete (as we did during the tutorial) will be a great way to introduce students to new musical concepts with a guide, whilst at the same time allowing them to create a piece of work. Once they begin to get a handle on the app they could then have free play to create a piece of work on their own.

If students are able to progress to creating their own piece of work, the app then allows this music to be played back to the whole class. As a class you could try to identify the different instruments being used and decide how the composing students have played with dynamics, temp and rhythm. This overall activity would allow students, to plan, produce, listen and appreciate and could be very easily facilitated by the teacher.

Picture Reference: https://osxuninstaller.com/uninstall-guides/uninstall-remove-apple-garageband-mac/

Link to Garage Band App: https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/garageband/id408709785?mt=8