Unit 3 – Singing Names

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Unit 3.1 – Unit 3 Songs (p.10)

Purpose – Embedding the so-mi motif

  • Practising the so-mi motif needed for Unit 3
  • Performing pulse actions

Activities

Cobbler Cobbler and See Saw should be well known by now.
Hey Hey is another song to reinforce the so-mi motif and excellent for young students due to endless repetition. Each time replace “I am singing” with “clapping”, “marching”, “tapping”, “nodding”, “jumping” etc. See how imaginative your student can be. Tapping could be on a body part like nose, knee etc. Jumping is a challenge to keep in time with the pulse but it is well loved.
Bring out the sponge hearts and find out how much the student can remember about steady beats and pulse. Revise the pulse concepts from Unit 2.5

Homework

  • Teach someone at home the songs

Unit 3.2 – See Saw Pulse Picture (templates available to download)

Purpose – A beat can have one or two sounds

  • The first step towards understanding rhythm is to see that beats can have one or two sounds

Preparation Activities

Sing the See Saw song with a pulse action (see Unit 2.2). Remind the student that every song has a heartbeat and this is called the pulse. Use a sponge heart to show the pulse while you sing.

Activities

How many beats does this song have? It has 8. Help the student count. I have 8 sponge hearts and they count them out as we sing. You could also count on fingers or tap a whiteboard with a pen and then count the dots. Make sure the student is counting the beats and not the sounds or words. If they struggle, do it with them so they feel that sense of pulse.
Lay out the 8 hearts on the floor and with your finger, sing the song and bounce on each heartbeat in time with the pulse. Ask the student to do the same. If they tap the rhythm by accident they will run out of beats.
Either draw 8 hearts on a white board or piece of paper, or use the downloadable template. Sing the song and tap the pulse on the hearts. Student taps the hearts and sings in their thinking voice. You tap while the student sings in their thinking voice but stop on a heart. The student must write the word in the heart. Make sure you start by filling in all the hearts containing only one word first, then it is easier to fill in the others. If a student keeps getting it wrong you might ask them to sing aloud so you can hear where it’s going wrong. It will probably be that they are singing a single word for each beat rather then keeping with the rhythm they have learnt. If they have filled all the hearts and missed off a word in the middle – quite a common error – you can sing their song back to them as they have notated it and see if they realise there is a word missing. Another trick is to stop with one heart to go, talk about how many words we still have to fit in, and they should realise that the final heart needs two words, not one.
To help struggling students use the lyrics from page 4 or page 10 and ask them to stick a sticker or make a mark where the pulse would strike. Alternatively cut up the lyrics into beats and ask them to place them in the correct hearts. Try cutting them into words instead of beats and see if they can see two words need to go in one heart.

Homework

  • Confident students may try to replicate this activity at home.

Extension

Students who pick up this concept quickly can try the same activity with Hey Hey and Cobbler Cobbler.

Unit 3.3 – Cobbler Cobbler (p.11)

pixa shoePurpose – Five Line Stave

  • Introduce the five line stave
  • Repeating notes

Preparation activities

This song shouldn’t need preparing, however the students will benefit from a further repetition. Bring in the elements from Unit 2 about pulse and pitch. The Unit 2 activities should be revisited at every opportunity.

With the book

Show them Balance Balance, which was a line note song. Then show them Cobbler Cobbler, also a line note song. Can they see any differences? There are 5 lines for Cobbler Cobbler. Reassure them that although there are some extra lines, the rules we established in Unit 2 are still valid. There is still a high line and a low line and we can ignore those extra silly lines for now. When we write music down we call it a score.
There are no clefs in this book so the blobs don’t relate to treble clef or bass clef letter names or absolute pitch names. If the student already knows these letter names they might try and use them. You can praise their knowledge but tell them that that line isn’t always a D (or whatever). In this book it can be any number of different pitches.
Once they know to ignore those additional lines, they should be able to play the piece. Ensure they are using their middle fingertip on each hand, as before, with the other fingers relaxed. They also need to look out for the repeating notes, where two adjacent blobs belong to the same line.

Homework

  • Practise the song. Move to different black key gaps.

Extension

Introduce the singing names so and mi from Unit 3.4 at the same lesson.

Unit 3.4 – Singing Names so and mi

Purpose – so and mi

  • Introduce singing names (solfa) so and mi

Preparation activities

Sing Cobbler Cobbler, See Saw and Hey Hey. Revisit the discussions on pitch from Unit 2. Talk about the songs having two pitches, a high pitch and a low pitch.

Activities

Explain to the student that in these songs, the pitches have special singing names. The high pitch is called “so” and it has its own hand sign. Hold their hand so their palm is facing their face. If they can’t remember this position say “I’m so silly” and slap your palm on your forehead. This shows the rough hand position, although it really should be eye level. The low pitch is called “mi” and its hand sign is chest height with the palm facing the floor. Write so and mi on a whiteboard or piece of paper so they can see the spelling.
Do some so-mi echoes. You sing and sign, and the student echoes with signs. The student may pick this up immediately but some may struggle. At this point don’t worry too much as this echo activity will be repeated at every lesson. Ask the student to create some so-mi patterns for you to copy. This is a really useful activity to determine the internal pitching abilities of the student. Many students who can echo perfectly, have trouble matching the pitch to the singing name. If they mix them up, correct them gently, there will be plenty of opportunities over the next few lessons to improve this skill.

With the book

With Cobbler Cobbler, remind them that we had a high and a low line. Now we can name the lines “so” and “mi“. The student should write so and mi (check the spelling) next to the appropriate line.
Sign and sing the singing names for Cobbler Cobbler using the book. Then play the keys while singing the singing names. These activities, like all of the ones in this method, will be a mixture of aural memory and reading skills. We are associating the visual with the aural and physical.

Homework

  • Sign and sing the singing names. Play and sing the singing names.

Extension

Move to white keys. Explain that the singing names are still the same because the song is still the same song, even though the starting pitch has changed.

Unit 3.5 – See Saw (p.12)

Purpose – Mixture of single and repeated notes

  • Single and repeated notes

Preparation activities

Revisit the work on pitch from Unit 3.4 with the song Cobbler Cobbler. Remember that the singing name for the higher pitch is “so” and the singing name for the lower pitch is “mi“. Practise the hand signs. Sing some so-mi echoes. Include the pattern for the first line of See Saw without telling the student. Ask the student to create some so-mi patterns for you to copy. Sign and sing Cobbler Cobbler.

Activities

Sing See Saw with the actions. Sing again showing the pitch of the song with hand height. They may use the hand signs. If they do, give them lots of praise for noticing they are “so” and “mi“. If they don’t, then explain that this song uses the same pitches as Cobbler Cobbler. Work together to learn the so-mi pattern of the song.

With the book

Look at the page. Remind the student that there are five lines but we only need two. The higher line is “so” and the lower line is “mi“. The student can label the lines appropriately.
Sign and sing the singing names using the book. Then play the keys while singing the singing names.

Homework

  • Sign and sing the singing names. Play and sing the singing names.

Extension

Move to white keys. Explain that the singing names are still the same because the song is still the same song, even though the starting pitch has changed. Confident students can cover Unit 3.7 in the same lesson.

Unit 3.6 – See Saw Rhythm Picture

Purpose – A beat can have one or two sounds

  • More work on understanding that beats can have one or two sounds
  • The rhythm is the way the words go

Preparation Activities

This activity is dependent on successful understanding of Unit 3.2. Sing the See Saw song with a pulse action. Remind the student that every song has a heartbeat and this is called the pulse. Use a sponge heart to show the pulse while you sing. Repeat Unit 3.2 to check understanding. Accelerate the activities for the more confident. Those struggling with the idea of pulse may need to spend longer on the Unit 3.2 activities and delay the work on rhythm until a later lesson.

Activities

Draw 8 hearts on a white board or piece of paper, or use the downloadable template. Sing the song and tap the pulse on the hearts. The student should write the words in the hearts, as in Unit 3.2. Ask the students which beats have one word or sound and which have two. We want to replace the words with small crosses. One if there is one sound and two if there are two. Confident students may be able to rub out all the words and replace with crosses. Less confident may need to do this one heart at a time. If you have used paper rather than a whiteboard you can place the crosses underneath the hearts.
Now sing the song again and ask the student to tap the crosses instead of the hearts. They are tapping the way the words go. This is the rhythm. Repeat the song a few more times, switching between the rhythm and the pulse.

Homework

Confident students may try to replicate this activity at home.

Extension

Students who pick up this concept quickly can cover Unit 4.2 in the same session

Unit 3.7 – Hey Hey (p13)

Purpose – so and mi as space notes

  • When “so” is a line note, “mi” is the line note below. When “so” is a space note, “mi” is the space note below.
  • Use the index finger to play the keys

Preparation Activities

Sing Hey Hey with the activities from Unit 3.1. Remind the student that our songs have two pitches called “so” and “mi“. Sign and sing so-mi echoes, including the pattern from Hey Hey.
With the book Look at See Saw, it has line notes. It has a “so” line and a “mi” line. Then look at Hey Hey, remember that we can show high and low sounds with space notes. Instead of a “so” line and a “mi” line we have a “so” space and a “mi” space. When “so” is a line note, “mi” is the line note below. When “so” is a space note, “mi” is the space note below. This chant should be repeated as often as possible in the following lessons.
Sign and sing the singing names using the book. Then play the keys while singing the singing names using the middle finger. Repeat with the index finger.

Homework

  • Sign and sing the singing names
  • Play and sing the singing names with the middle fingers and then the index fingers

Extension

Move to white keys. Confident students who have completed Unit 4.2 can apply the rhythm names to this song.

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