First day of Beginning Orchestra (Lesson 2.1.1)

Yesterday we had a “preview” class for Beginning Orchestra for those eager students who were dying to get started. And we had fun!

I set up the table with a snack and colorful plates, napkins, cups, chips, salsa, apples, oranges, and water. The children were thrilled to have an after school snack before starting!

I reviewed names and visited while they snacked for a minute, and then we started. I started out by teaching them the Delicious Music theme song, including the new phrase (second to last phrase in the song) that says, “We will work to train our fingers how to play our inner music.”

I explained that when we have a song in our head, we want to be able to write it down so we can play it again and share it with someone else. That is what we will do this semester: begin learning not only how to play our instruments better, but also how to hear, read, write, and move to the notes we hear–whether they are in our head or coming from outside our ears.

We began by learning how to sing and sign a Solfa scale. Solfa is a music language in which we use hand signs for notes, kind of like ASL (American Sign Language), but for music. We learned the signs for low do, do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, and high do. We practiced singing and signing an ascending Solfa scale and a descending Solfa scale.

Then I showed them how you can write down a tune using the abbreviations (first letter) of each Solfa note. For example, if you were to sing the first line of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” it would look like this: m r d r m m m.  

Then we learned to sing two more songs in Solfa: “Making Music Makes Me Smile” and “Let’s Go Build a Snowman.”  We sung them in using our soldège signs and then just with the lyrics.

Finally, we talked about our practicing homework. I shared the analogy of preparing a meal, and all the steps that are required (hence the snack first to help them imagine it!). I showed them the practice reporting page, on which they must cross off one image each day they follow the instructions for that part of practicing. They earn one smile for each day they complete their practicing.

It was a great day!

Our parent meeting will be Tuesday night at 7 pm at my home. (See your email for directions.) Then Thursday will be our first OFFICIAL day! Those who came yesterday will go to work on their instruments after our beginning sharing time.

If you have any questions about the practicing instructions, please email me! You should begin practicing with your child (if they attended class) immediately.

P.S. The lessons are numbered to indicate the semester (2nd), month (1st), and week (1st)= 2.1.1. Our themes change monthly, and the lessons will support the themes. The theme for this first month is “Making music takes preparation, hard work, and fun!”