This week’s class I decided to focus on pitch awareness. Now that Child A and the other children who attend my classes are in their toddler stage, their ability to differentiate between notes will have increased from my musical education. Child A continued to be apprehensive at the start of this week’s class again due to a new child returning to the group whom is seen as unfamiliar. Once his Childminder had taken him out of the circle and encouraged him to join in, he soon got into the spirit of things.
After the ‘Hello’ song, we started with the familiar song ‘See Saw’ which I started as a paired activity with each child rowing to the beat with their adult. I then paired up with each child in the class to work with them individually. This is so I could then develop the activity to using my wooden xylophone to indicate the change in pitch between So and Mi (Major 3rd). Each child then had a try at playing the xylophone whilst we sang the song, Child A did very well with this activity . Afterwards I showed the whole group the Solfege hand signs to further explain the rise and fall of the pitch. Child A watched intently and copied my actions very thoroughly.
I taught the class a new rhyme called ‘leg over ‘leg’ which involves fun whole body actions, ending with a surprise change just like ‘See Saw’. In this case, the child slides down their adult’s knees when the dog jumps over the stile at the end. I used my dog puppet Sweep to help demonstrate this, Child A is always pleased to hear the puppet’s squeaker as he then recognises which puppet is to be revealed from my bag of props. When it was his turn to move the Sweep puppet in time to the beat, he was very keen to find the squeaker to make it squeak. In order to continue with the older children’s continuing development I moved the activity along for them to move their own legs. Child A was happier when his Childminder was helping him but not so keen at first to do this himself.
In this particular rhyme, the dog “goes to Dover”, so I announced that we now needed to go there and asked how we would get there. With some input from the adults who suggested different forms of transport, I revealed my special hat which is always an exciting prospect for Child A. He has been coming long enough to know that this is the hat for driving a train. So we next sang the song ‘Engine, engine number 9’. We started on the floor imitating the wheels of a train, then moved around the room changing the tempo according to the situation of the story e.g. leaves on the line so we have to go slower. We even walked backwards because we due to crash just like Thomas the Tank Engine. Child A enjoys having a turn to lead the line but prefers his Childminder to wear the hat.
I moved onto some calmer activities with the song ‘There’s a Spider on my Toe’ which Child A apparently sings at home in the bathtub. We talked about the different parts of the body that the spider climbs onto, which is a great way for children to understand their own bodies plus an opportunity to encourage numeracy skills by counting how many limbs, toes and fingers etc. that we have which we can then compare to the natural environment by observing the Spider’s body. I taught a new rhyme to finish which is called ‘Here are the leaves’, which also explores the children’s natural environment by describing the falling apples and leaves in Autumn. I used egg shakers to represent the leaves which Child A loves to distribute and collect in.
For the request section, Child A again chose London’s Burning which is a firm favourite of his. So I encouraged him to start the song by himself, his confidence to do so will need to be further helped as he finds his voice but once we started I could hear him very clearly. The use of actions for each line helps him each week to remember the song in more structured detail.