Our theme this term is Skool of Rock, with some new pieces for our harmonauts and some old favourites. It’s a great way to embrace musical expression and contemporary terminology such as riffs, heads, power chords and lead breaks. While we work on our study pieces, we will also investigate our musical element topic, which is duration.
With help from their Harp Academy teacher, children in KS2 will select rock songs from KS2 Music Library. Pre-School, Reception and KS1 children will focus on KS1 Book 1, and will also work on some easy rock oriented material from our KS1 Music Library including Pop Goes The Weasel and Ring O’Roses . Home support pages for all our songs are available to subscribers in the KS1 and KS2 Music Libraries on this site. Our favourite tracks include Louie Louie, Sunshine of Your Love, American Idiot, Gold on the Ceiling, Iron Man, Smoke on the Water, Gimme Gimme Good Lovin’ and Caroline.
What is duration? Children will learn to identify time signatures, note values, corresponding rest values and standard notation. We will then investigate ways in which, as a wind instrument player, we have to control our breath to deliver and articulate different phrases.
Staccato and legato are central to good breath control on the harmonica. Children will learn to include smooth, sustained notes, and short repeat notes in their phrasing. We will also keep an eye on posture and how we hold the harmonica; there is a conventional way of using both hands, which facilitates further technical skills. KS2 children will continue to explore note-bending skills.
Children are encouraged to identify and talk about duration in songs or music they personally enjoy, and how this adds to the character of a piece of music.
Performance is a powerful device for building self-identity and a sense of worth. Our chosen pieces will help build key performance skills. Where feasible, we will end our term with a playback in school assembly. We are also set to perform some Christmas entertainment at The Alex children’s hospital on Monday 23rd December, 11.00 am to noon.
Waking Up Wendell – April Stevens
This is a really funny book, with some crazy characters and noises. We particularly enjoyed Henry Hobart Whittlespoon who lives at No.5 Fish Street. What do you think his favourite musical instrument might be, and why does he have a book by his bed called The Blues?
A perfect bedtime story book, children and parents will really enjoy reading this together. Waking Up Wendell is published by Schwartz Wade books (ISBN 978-0-375-83621-3). Illustrations by Tad Hills (illustrator of Duck & Goose books). Buy at Amazon UK
The Cello of Mr.O – Jane Cutler
We absolutely adore this book! In a war-torn city, a little girl struggles with many emotions. Her father is away fighting, there is no heating oil, and food is scarce.
Each afternoon, in full view of snipers and amidst the bomb bursts, Mr.O sits in the square and plays his Cello. Until one day a shell destroys his instrument. Undaunted, he returns to play tunes on his harmonica. Through Mr.O’s music, the little girl learns to confront fear and build courage. The Cello of Mr.O is published by Dutton Children’s Books (ISBN 0-525-46119-1) and illustrated by Greg Crouch. Buy at Amazon UK