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Southmead School Creating Music for Velator

Many thanks to the Foundation Stage children of Southmead School for their enthusiasm in making a special song for “Velator”.  Rosemary Willmer

Learning through Music

Personal, Social and Emotional
Each child to have the opportunity to voice their opinions, likes and dislikes towards the different types of music throughout this scheme.  To feel confident to be able to express and share their feelings with their peers within a group discussion.  The children will learn to work in pairs, small group and individually.  Each child will be respected and valued.

Language, Literacy and Communication
Children will be encouraged to describe in their own words what each piece of music means to them.  To extend their language by introducing new vocabulary to enhance their descriptions.  The children will extend on their communication skills by having discussions with their peers and most importantly learn how to communicate through music (see Swan Lake – Week 6)

Children have the opportunity to be creative both with musical instruments and movement sessions.  Offer extension to creativity e.g. painting whilst listening to music.

The children will use their math skills through counting the beats in a piece of music.  We will produce a Music Graph highlighting the choice of music.  To reinforce concepts of loud/soft and long/short when playing instruments.

The children will select and play musical instrument displaying both fine and gross motor skills.  Through water experiments the children will actively be involved in taking part in the activities.

Knowledge and Understanding of the World
The children will learn the names of the instruments.  They will observe the different materials that instruments are made from and learn about their origins.  The children will have the opportunity in demonstrating different ways in which to play their chosen musical instrument.  The children will learn to respect their environment at Velator and appreciate its wildlife and beauty.

Week 1 - Exploring Water Sounds

Listening Skills – Tranquillity (Track 3 – Amazon Rain) “Voices of Tranquillity”  5099750-629123  (CD)

Children to listen to music and to participate in group discussions about their feelings on this particular piece of music.  What did they hear?  How did the music make them feel?

Children to demonstrate to their peers the following sounds:
  • Water in different sized plastic containers being shaken and poured into a bowl.
  • The use of watering cans/sieves with jugs.
  • Drop large and small pebbles into a bowl of water.
  • Pouring water from jugs into bowl from different heights.
  • Pouring water into teacups from a teacup.
  • Container of water – blowing bubbles with a straw.
  • Dripping water onto a metal plate.
Evaluation of Session:
The children thoroughly enjoyed experimenting with the water activities.  They listened attentively to the different sounds.  Children were confident and asked questions about the sounds and suggested other ways of implementing other objects such as shells into the experiment.

Making Music

Week 2 - Introducing Pond Life

Listening Skills – The Beach (Movie Soundtrack 2 - Snakeblood) 64344310792

Children to listen to the music with their eyes closed and let their bodies move to the sounds of underwater experiences.  How different was this music to last week’s music?

Listen to Pond Life (Track 30 “Listening to Music” Element Age 5+ ISBN 0-7136-4173-8) and discuss what water sounds we could use from our experiments from Week 1. 

Give the children opportunity of handling musical instruments.

Each child to describe their chosen instrument to their peers by way of the instrument’s home, what it is made from and to demonstrate it’s sound.

Instruments the children chose:
  •     Wooden block
  •     Xylophone
  •     Chimes
  •     Rainmakers
  •     Container with water and straw for blowing
Evaluation of Session:
It was good to see the children enjoy this Beach track and to observe how they expressed themselves within the movement.  We had fish, mermaids, crabs, sharks and weed swaying in the sea.  We discussed both salt and fresh water concepts.

The children enjoyed handling the instruments and were quite knowledgeable about the materials their instruments were made from.  The children tried to identify the different creatures they heard in the Pond Life music.

Week 3 - Sounds of Rain

Listening Skills – Pop Music “It’s Raining Men”

Children to listen and join in singing with this song.
Discussion – Everyone has different tastes in music, which kind of music did they enjoy and why?

Share weather and rain poems.  Listen to children’s experiences in the rain and their comments about the different sounds rain makes.

Sheltering under a large umbrella what sounds do you hear when I pour water onto your umbrella from a watering can?

Listen to “Rainy Day” Music Track 21.  Taken from “Listening to Music” Element Age 5+   ISBN 0-7136-4173-8.  Can you identify the sounds.  Which sounds would you like in our Rainy Day Music?

The children selected the following instruments:

Drip, drop. Plip, plop - Wooden block
Splatter, splatter - Shaker
Shower of rain - Rainmaker and maracas
Lightening  - Cymbals
Trickle, trackle - Triangle
Pitter, patter - Tambourine of bubble blowing

Finish with Children’s Choice (Track 24) – Sing a Rainbow

Evaluation of Session:
The children asked for ‘more’ as they experienced rain whilst standing under the umbrella.  They didn’t even mind getting wet.  Their experiences on weather conditions were discussed.  We played our instruments alongside the Rainy Day Music.

Week 4 - Making a Music Painting

Listening Skills:  Pan Flute (Track 13).  Discuss children’s comments about this kind of music.  How does it make you feel?

Show pictures from the Rainy Day Music.  Play Track 21 and can you identify the different sounds with the pictures.

Working in pairs and listening to the Flute Music paint pictures.
Children to select one of the following techniques:
  • Paint a Rainbow using water wash and powder paint
  • Bubble painting
  • Making pond ripples with water wash and marker pens
Evaluation of Session:
It was nice to observe the children whilst they painted listening to the music.  It had quite a calming effect and the children seemed to be absorbed in their activities.  Some of the children’s comments about the Flute music was that it made them feel ‘settled’ and one child said she would like to go to bed listening to this kind of music.  A busy but rewarding session.

Music Graph

Week 5 - Planning our Velator Music

Listening Skills:  Irish folk Music with beating drum.  Reel around the sun (Track 1)

Discuss our plans for the Velator Music and how we can put instruments to show all the sounds that we want to highlight.  Each sound to represent something you would find in the Wetlands.

To go through each instrument and record their sounds using picture instrument cards as a form of reading music.
To select the following to accompany the sounds.
  • Dandelion clock
  • Dragonflies
  • Frogs
  • Water bubbles from water snails
  • Tadpoles
Listen to another Irish Music Track No. 14 (The Gypsy) Show picture cards and make the beginning of our Velator Music.

Evaluation of Session:
The Irish Music proved to be very popular with the children.  We produced a Graph showing the children’s final decision on their favourite music that was to accompany our Velator Music piece.  The picture cards were also a success and helped children not so confident to know when their instrument was required in our music.

Week 6 - Adding a Swan to our Velator Music

Listening Skills - Storytime:  To listen to the Ballet story of Swan Lake.
To listen to music composed by Peter Tchaikousky, which tells the story by using different instruments. Show the children information obtained from the Internet with details of Swan Lake.

Discuss our Velator Music and also how we can add an instrument sound for a swan gliding across the waters.  Reinforce our picture symbols.  We completed our Velator Music.

Children to draw their instruments using their observational skills.

Evaluation of Session:
The children are getting very excited about their piece of music.  They show enjoyment and give 100% during playing.  They look at the picture cards for their cue to play their instrument.  At the end of the session the Junior children came and gave us a demonstration of Irish Dancing.  We asked them to dance again and this time we accompanied them with our musical instruments.  A great session.

Swan Lake 1895
Swan Lake was a ballet in four acts, based on a German fairy tale, with music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The first production of the ballet was in Moscow, 4 May 1877, at the Bolshoi Theater, with choreography by Julius Reisinger. This production was not a success.

The story, from a French version of a German tale, is about a princess, Odette, who is turned into a swan by an evil magician, Rothbart; in some versions of the story, all of her friends become swans, too. Every midnight, she  (and her friends) become human again for a few hours. One midnight, she is discovered  by Prince Siegfried who falls madly in love with her and promises to rescue her. There is a ball in the castle where Sigfreid is supposed to choose a bride. Odile, Knight Rothbart’s daughter, enters as a black swan, looking exactly like Princess Odette. Siegfried is instantly drawn to her, and he declares she will be his bride. Odette then appears and sees what has happened, and he recognises her too, and realises he has broken his promise. She rushes off to the lake, and he comes and finds her there. She forgives him,but Rothbart creates a storm and both Odette and Siegfried are drowned. In some versions, there is a happy ending: Siegfried fights Rothbart and rescues Odette and her companions after breaking the spell. Yet in other versions of Swan Lake, Rothbart surprises the Princess and her companions while they are gathering flowers at the lake and transforms them all into swans.

After Tchaikovsky’s death in 1893, a memorial to the composer presented the second act, rechoreographed by Lev Ivanov. A full production was performed on 27 January 1895 at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, its debut for that city. The expectations of the Russian public had to be fulfilled, giving an element of “ pressure” to the composition and choreography. Marius Petipa choreographed Acts 1 and 111, and Ivanov choreographed Acts 11 and 1V. This version required major changes in the sequence of the music as originally written. This revival finally received the appreciation that it had rightfully deserved.

The text was prepared by Sasha Posner for the http://webserver.reds.rye.ny.us/id/dance/dancepagesp.html.  
Bibliography:  Terry, Walter. Ballet Guide. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1976  Concise Oxford of Ballet.

Our Velator Music







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