Friday, 3 June 2011

World Music-Asia

 I've been teaching a Music Appreciation class at L's Montessori school this past year.  The children are ages 3 to 6.  Lately we have been studying music from the different continents.
For each "World Music Class" I ask one of the children to roll out a mat and another to place the colored globe on it.  I then ask another child to find the continent we are going to be studying on the globe.
I usually have three part cards prepared for the particular instruments from that continent or in this case country.  Since Asia is so big we have narrowed it down to the music of China for this year.
I presented instrument cards for the erhu, dizi, pipa, ruan and yang qin.  We talked about how they looked and their European counterparts.  We also listened to this gorgeous video which demonstrates all of the above instruments.  The children held up the appropriate card when they saw the instrument being played.
(photo from Google Images)

Years ago I was lucky enough to be given a dizi or Chinese flute from one of my students.  I was able to play a Chinese song on it for the children and then let them all try it out for themselves.

(photo from Google Images)

We also prepared for learning about music from Asia by first learning the notes of the major scale "do re mi fa sol la ti do".  The children are lucky enough to have a set of bells in the classroom so they are all familiar with the sound of the scale.  We also sang the song "Do a Deer".
 The pentatonic scale is made up of only five notes which are do re mi sol la.  This scale is used in folk music all over the world but when played you can really hear the distinct sounds used in Chinese and Asian music.  I first played the scale for the children on this little xylophone and then we sang it together. 

 I set up four work stations on different tables. The first was the xylophone with stars on the notes of the pentatonic scale.  The other two tables had five water glasses which had been pre-tuned to the pentatonic notes.  I drew little lines on the glasses with window crayons and the older children poured water to the lines.  We also had a station where we'd selected only the five bells from the pentatonic scale.  The children took turns at each station.  The collective sounds produced were beautiful and the head teacher (who was cleaning the washrooms at the time ) said it sounded like she was in China town. 
(hmm I've just noticed in this picture that someone has moved the stars around)
This was a simple and effective way for the children to hear and make the distinct sounds of the music from this continent.


The Guilletots said...

Great activity.. I will definitely copy it next year when studying China with my little ones. Thanks for sharing..

The girl who painted trees said...

Wow! Sounds like a lot of fun learning.

aayladomontessori said...

You've been a busy lady! I can just imagine all of those beautiful notes being played all over the classroom!

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