Unit 5 – New Note “la”

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Unit 5.1 – Unit 5 Songs (p.18)

Purpose – Learn la-so-mi Songs

  • Practising the so-la-so motif needed for Unit 5
  • Introducing more rhythms

Activities

Bounce High Bounce Low Stand opposite the student holding a bouncy ball. Hold the ball at chest height when you sing the word “bounce”, face height on “high” and waist height on “low”. For the second line change the words to the name of the student. “Bounce the ball to Adam” for example. On the third beat of the second line bounce the ball in between you, the student should catch the ball on the fourth beat and then repeat the song. If it is a group lesson you can change who you throw to, so the students must be ready. (Source: Singing Games and Rhymes for Early Years by Lucinda Geoghegan published by National Youth Choir of Scotland)

Snail Snail Either make a snail shape with your hand by sticking your thumb between your index and middle fingers or use a snail toy. Sing this song and show the melodic shape with your snail. On “Go around and round and round” you could take the snail in a circle around your face so the snail reaches the top of the circle on the highest pitch.

Tick Tock Talk about pulse being a steady heartbeat. Remind the student that a ticking clock is a good example of a steady pulse. Hold your forearm vertically and pivot around the elbow like the tick of a metronome. Sing the song while showing the pulse with the tick tock of your arm.

mouse-156611_1280Here Sits A Mousie Use a mouse toy to show the pulse of this song while you sing it. Select two or more other toys and give them each a rhythm flash card. You should use at least the two rhythms from this song. Bounce each toy to the rhythm on their card and ask the student to do the same until they are confident. Sing the Mousie song again but this time at the end of the song, knock one of the rhythms on a hard surface (this is the toy knocking on Mousie’s door). The student then chooses the correct visitor. You could leave the rhythm flash cards visible, or put them away. An alternative start to this game is to demonstrate each rhythm without the cards and the student must select the correct card.

Little Tommy Tattlemouse This is a two part song so you need two toys, one mouse and one other. Hold each toy and bounce them in time with the pulse but only when it’s their turn to sing. Give the other toy to the student and ask them to sing the final “Yes it’s me”. Then ask the student to sing both parts. Don’t be tempted to give the two toys different pitched voices, as it sends the incorrect message that the pitches are different. You can, as is shown in the score, use different dynamics for the two toys.

Homework

  • Teach someone at home the songs.

Unit 5.2 – Snail Snail (p.19)

Purpose – Learn new note “la

  • Learn the new note “la
  • Practise the so-la-so motif

Preparation Activities

Sing any of the Unit 5.1 songs that you have already learnt.

Activities

Sing Snail Snail with the activities from Unit 5.1. Use paper or a whiteboard to draw the shape of the melody. Look at the shape and talk about how many different pitches we think there are.

With the book

The first line will be straightforward. The song starts on “so” and the student should be able to sign and sing the first line only. Carefully look at the second line and see if they can spot the new higher pitch. If not, lead them to it. Explain that this new, higher pitch is “la” and has the hand sign of a curved hand, fingers pointing down, at forehead height. Sign and sing the second line, repeat with the student, ask the student to sign and sing alone.
Ask the student to find two black keys for “so” and “mi” on the piano. Show them that the next higher black key is “la“. Therefore “so” and “la” are closer together than “so” and “mi“.
Show the student how to use their middle finger to hop between “so” and “la” and back. They should use the same beautiful arm and wrist movements from before, just this time we are moving between two keys. Even though we are not using our left hand to hop yet, repeat the exercise for the left hand. Repeat with the index finger and if the student has good hand position, the ring finger can also be used. At this point we only want one finger at any one time.
Using correct dynamics – clap and say the rhythm names, sign and sing the singing names, play and sing the singing names.

Extension

Students who have mastered the arm, wrist and finger techniques may be ready to use different fingers for “so” and “la” but they should still be played detached.

Unit 5.3 – Bounce High Bounce Low (p.20)

Purpose – Learn new note “la

  • Practise the new note “la
  • Practise the so-la-so motif
  • When “so” is a line note, “la” is the space note above. When “so” is a space note, “la” is the line note above.

Preparation Activities

Sing any of the Unit 5.1 songs that you have already learnt.

Activities

Sing Bounce High with the activities from Unit 5.1. Ask the student how many different pitches there are. If they struggle, use arm height to emphasis the pitches. Do they remember the new higher pitch? Talk about “la” being higher than “so“. Sing some la-so-mi patterns but don’t include any mi-la or la-mi leaps. The Unit 5 songs only move to and from “la” via “so“. Patterns starting on “so” will be the easiest, start on “la” or “mi” for more confident students. Ask them to create some patterns and work on accurate matching of hand sign, singing name and pitch.

With the book

Look at the score for Snail Snail. Ask the student to find the “la“. In that song “la” was a space note. Look at the score for Bounce High. Explain that the first pitch is “so” and ask the student to find “la“. Notice that this time “la” is a line note. Some students may notice why they are different. Now we have a new rule: When “so” is a line note, “la” is the space note above. When “so” is a space note, “la” is the line note above.
Using correct dynamics – clap and say the rhythm names, sign and sing the singing names, play and sing the singing names. Use the middle fingers, then the index fingers and then possibly the ring fingers.
Transpose the song onto white keys. Show that there is a white key between “so” and “mi“, but not between “so” and “la“.

Extension

Different fingers may be used for “so” and “la” but they should still be played detached.

Unit 5.4 – Stem Direction (p.21)

Purpose – Learn when stems point up or down

  • Learn when to draw stems up or down
  • Learn which side of the blob (note head) to add the stem

Activities

Choose one of the student’s favourite songs and ask them to select the correct rhythm flashcards. Find the corresponding flashcard which can be held upside down and show that they can still read the rhythms. Take the whole batch of flashcards, hold them upside down and practise clapping and saying the rhythm names.

With the book

Explain that sometimes our stems go up (on the right) and sometimes down (on the left). Show the student the Stem Direction page and discuss the first line. The stems must always pass over the middle line. If the blob (note head) is already on the middle line then you can choose which way.
Ask the student to copy the first line stems onto the second line. Then use their knowledge to complete the rest of the page.

Homework

  • Leave one or more lines to be completed at home, subject to the confidence of the student.

Extension

Explain that the stems are always the same length and encourage the student to pay attention to the length.

Unit 5.5 – Tick Tock (p.22)

Purpose – Practise down stems

  • Practise drawing stems down and on the left of the note head
  • Practise “la
  • When “so” is a line note, “la” is the space note above. When “so” is a space note, “la” is the line note above.

Preparation Activities

Sign and sing la-so-mi echoes always passing through “so“.

Activities

Sing Tick Tock with the activities from Unit 5.1

With the book

Draw the stems onto the note heads.
Remember the chant. When “so” is a line note, “la” is the space note above. When “so” is a space note, “la” is the line note above. Tell the student the first pitch is “so” and ask them to find every “so“, every “mi” and every “la“.
Using correct dynamics – clap and say the rhythm names, sign and sing the singing names, play and sing the singing names. Use the middle fingers, then the index fingers, then the ring fingers.
Transpose the song onto white keys. Remember there is no white key between “so” and “la“.

Extension

Different fingers may be used for “so” and “la” but they should still be played detached.

Unit 5.6 – Here Sits A Mousie (p.23)

Purpose – Reading up-stems

  • Practise reading and recognising rhythms
  • See that each sound in a titi can have a different pitch

Preparation Activities

Sign and sing la-so-mi echoes always passing through “so” and including pitch changes within a titi rhythm. Use the rhythm flashcards to practise reading rhythms. Include the new rhythm to match line 2 of the song.

Activities

Sing Here Sits A Mousie with the activities from Unit 5.1. Ask the student if the can identify which rhythm cards are needed for this song.

With the book

Explain that now the sticks or stems are going to be written on our scores. Ask the student to use the score to check they identified the correct rhythm cards. Using correct dynamics, clap and say the rhythm names for the song.
Remember the chant. When “so” is a line note, “la” is the space note above. When “so” is a space note, “la” is the line note above. Tell the student the first pitch is “so” and ask them to find every “so“, every “mi” and every “la“.
Using correct dynamics – sign and sing the singing names, play and sing the singing names. Use the middle fingers, then the index fingers, then the ring fingers. This will need to be played slowly to enable the student to bounce successfully from “so” to “la“. This is the first time they will have played a “titi” rhythm with different pitches.
The student’s arm, wrist and finger techniques should be good enough to use different fingers for “so” and “la” but they should still be played detached. If not, stick with the single finger method until finger numbers have been learnt in Unit 6.
Transpose the song onto white keys. Remember there is no white key between “so” and “la“.

Extension

Confident students can cover Unit 5.7 in the same lesson or as independent study.

Unit 5.7 – Little Tommy Tattlemouse (p.24)

Purpose – Reading down-stems

  • Practise reading and recognising rhythms
  • Change dynamics within a piece

Preparation Activities

Sign and sing la-so-mi echoes always passing through “so” and including pitch changes within a titi rhythm. Remind the student that the rhythm flashcards can be read upside down. Practise reading them upside down.
Play and sing the singing names for some la-so patterns to practise moving between pairs of fingers of the same hand; index and middle, middle and ring. Even though at present the left hand only plays “mi“, we need to include it in these exercises.

Activities

Sing Little Tommy Tattlemouse with the activities from Unit 5.1. Ask the student if the can identify which rhythm cards are needed for this song. Sing the song in a soft voice, but the final phrase in loud voice. Ask the student what you have done. Reverse the dynamics and discuss. Ask the student to sing the song with different dynamics.

With the book

Remind the student what the Italian terms for loud and soft are and how we show them on the score. Can they find the dynamics on this score?
Remember the chant. When “so” is a line note, “la” is the space note above. When “so” is a space note, “la” is the line note above. Tell the student the first pitch is “so” and ask them to find every “so“, every “mi” and every “la“.
Using correct dynamics – clap and say the rhythm names, sign and sing the singing names, play and sing the singing names. Change the finger pairs.
Transpose the song onto white keys.

Extension

For an extra challenge see if the student can play the piece using one hand. Bouncing a single finger, or a combination of fingers.

Unit 5.8 – Five a Day (p.25)

Purpose – Sight Reading

  • Read unknown melodies from the score

With the book

For each melody the student must complete the standard homework sequence with the correct dynamics. They may recognise some of the melodies from songs they have already learnt. Others are almost like songs they know so they will be a challenge as they may slip into playing by ear. Others are completely new. Explain that we can’t sing the final two notes of example 4. The final example may take some guidance since it starts on “mi”, something they haven’t seen since Unit 2. This unit can be carried over a number of weeks until the Unit 6 Five a Day page is reached.

Homework

  • Complete the standard homework for each of these melodies every day (or every practice!)

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