People of all ages love stories. A well-crafted story draws you in and makes you feel like a part of the action. I love to use a variety of books in the Music Room because they can make working on more difficult musical concepts seem much easier!
For the last few weeks our First Grade students have been using the classic Edward Munch story, Mortimer, to explore different drones and improvising melodies that ascend and descend. The book has a repeated song the main character sings when he is supposed to be sleeping. Our students learned his song (thanks, Artie Almeida!) and then accompanied their singing with a chord drone and a broken drone. After we got used to singing, watching the conductor, and playing all at the same time, we discussed the specific uses of each of these drones. Because the song in Mortimer is on the busier side, we decided the simpler chord drone would be more appropriate for our “performance.”
Students accompanying their singing
Next we had to compose some music for when Mortimer’s family heads up the stairs to tell him to be quiet, and down the stairs to get on with their lives. The First Graders improvised a variety of ascending and descending pentatonic melodies, until they each had their very own they liked the best. For a final performance, we used our song and drone as the A section of a rondo. The other sections were solo performances of our melodies.
Students soloing for each other
This is just one of the many stories we tell in Music. Some of them are through books, some through song. Still others are through movement. Music gives our students the opportunity to tell their story in new and exciting ways!