Last Friday (I missed posting on 3-13-15), I taught the children about the science of sound, shared some percussion music with them, and followed up on their first week with the practice bells.
I began by asking them if they remember what makes sound. I used a rubber band stretched out between two fingers and let them pluck it to make a vibration.
We talked about other stringed instruments that you can see the vibration easily, such as the harp or cello. I had them repeat this: “Sound is vibrations that travel to my ear that send a message to my brain to tell me what I ‘hear’.”
We talked about how volume can hurt your ears and why, and I told them about the little hairs in their ears that can be permanently damaged if they listen to music that is too loud for too long.
We watched a video about how our vocal chords (folds) vibrate as they are stretched and air passages by them. I encouraged them to take care of their ears by not listening with earbuds on and the volume too loud and to take care of their voices by not screaming or yelling, so that they can enjoy their instrument their whole lives long.
I also told them about Evelyn Glennie, world-famous deaf percussionist, and how she learned to play her instrument by feeling the vibrations through her body. She feels them through her feet. We talked about how fast those vibrations have to move for her to feel them and be able to play along with other instruments, such as an orchestra or a band.
I took off my sock and shoe and placed it on the ground to show how she did it. I showed them a small clip of her playing the xylophone.
We listened to one of her songs, and I asked how fast they thought she learned how to play like that. We came to the conclusion that it didn’t happen in a day or a week, but after lots of practice.
I asked the children how their practicing at home on the practice bells was coming along. I enjoyed hearing their reports. I promised them that those who practiced a song 5x every day could perform it in front of the class at our next lesson.