About the author: Jim Burkhardt is a musician and educator in the Philadelphia area specializing in percussion. This is his second semester teaching with ASI. Jim aims to instill the importance of music, and it’s connection to culture and everyday life in his students, as well as expose them to music from around the world.
In preparation for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Fishtown Recreation Center class had a lesson about celebrating diversity and what it means to be unique. This lesson is geared for a pre-school class.
Vocabulary: Solo: a piece or a section of a piece of music played or sung featuring a single performer
Improvise: the creative activity of immediate (“in the moment”) musical composition, which combines performance with communication of emotions and instrumental technique as well as spontaneous response to other musicians or dancers
Tempo: the pace or speed at which a section of music is played
First we read a short biography picture book about MLK to the class to give them some background on who he was, what he stood for, and why his message is so important.
The art portion of class was dedicated to coloring cut out’s of each student’s right arm (traced and cut out the week prior). The colored arms were all put together in a collage to celebrate the diversity of the class room.
The music portion of class involved one of the class’ favorite activities Freeze Dance, but with a twist. Each student was tasked to create or Improvise their own unique dance move that represented their individuality. One student would take a turn leading the class in the dance they made up while we played a few rounds of freeze dance.
Each student had a turn to lead the class in their unique dance, as well as play percussion along with me and take a percussion Solo as the rest of the class tried to replicate, and show off their new dance moves!
Before we started to play and dance, I asked the student who was leading each dance if they wanted to play fast or slow. I then encouraged the class to follow along and play/dance to the Tempo set by the leader.
Here is a picture of one of my favorite dances from that day, the Robot!
Learning to Solo, Improvise, and follow Tempo is imperative to any musician’s development. These skills are also invaluable in every day life. Soloing helps build confidence, as well as encouraging the development of a personal voice and individuality. Improvisation is a great exercise for the development of problem solving skills. Learning to follow Tempo not only promotes good listening and direction following, it is also great for the development of hand-eye-coordination.
The student’s really enjoy Improvising and Soloing every chance they get. I find that they like being involved the most when allowed to experiment and make decisions on their own. It is hard for Pre-School students to grasp the concept of following a Tempo. It is helpful to include an element of motion in the activity in order to help students connect the dots between what they are seeing and how they are moving, with what they are hearing.
Share the post “Quilt of Many Cultures” Facebook LinkedIn Pinterest Twitter Email
ASI is always looking for new ways to teach use culture to celebrate diversity and create a more inclusive classroom environment for our classrooms with immigrant youth. Many of our … Continue reading Celebrating Diversity through Musical Instruments from Around the World
Your Destination: Participate in museum-type observation and dialogue about Van Gogh’s Sunflowers painting and paint your own version in a directed lesson. Learn how colors and strokes can express feelings. … Continue reading Lesson Plan: Van Gogh’s Sunflowers for Preschoolers
When did music become a part of education? Music has been an important part of daily life for humans for thousands of years. African tribes have been performing songs and … Continue reading Music in Schools
Last Wednesday at the Cohocksink rec center, we had a very fun and colorful art class! Introduced the students to the famous dutch painter Vincent van Gogh! In the beginning … Continue reading A Wednesday With Van Gogh
Making music provides unique opportunities for students to express their emotions. Often through music we realize how we are feeling and name those feelings. It also allows us to release … Continue reading Music and Mindfulness through Art and Bookmaking
Julie Shaffer is a new docent at Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia. This is her second semester volunteering with Art Sphere. She loves yoga, post-modern fiction, and art history and … Continue reading Let Us Join Hands to Honor MLK, Jr.
At the Fishtown Library Lunchtime Literacy session this week, we asked our young friends to suspend reality for the moment and enter the realm of imaginary and fantastical animals. Have … Continue reading Unicorns, Laminas, and Whatever You Can Imagine.
We began our fist class at Southwark this week. Our theme for this semester is music and meditation, as well as combining this with teaching literacy and unity. Music is … Continue reading Unison of Music + Art