DMK 3.4: Composers and composing: YOU are the composer!

3.4: Composing and Composers (for a PDF version of this lesson plan, click here.

New Concepts: Composing music

Review Concepts: Composers

2 min.: Sing the DM theme song, then follow up on last week. Who remembers what a composer is? What composer did we learn about last week? What song did she write?

6-8 min.: A composer is someone who composes music. What does it mean to compose music? It means to write music. What is a song you know? Do you know who wrote that song? What about the song we sang last week? (“Over the River and Through the Woods?”) (See what the children remember, what they know.) Today we’re going to learn about some composers and then YOU are going to be a composer! YOU are going to write your very own song! Share 1-2 examples of songs and their composers (go to sidebar under Free Music and click on “The Happy Birthday Song,” “Over the River and Through the Woods,” or “Mary Had a Little Lamb“–as well as others!–for photos and stories behind these compositions.). Sing one verse of “Over the River and Through the Woods” in Solfa and using the book or just your own actions or with visuals—however you choose. Sing it more than once to help the children learn it. (Next week you will help them play some of it on the bells, so your goal is to help them have the tune solidly in their head. Words and multiple repetitions help the tune to “stick” and vice versa.)

5-7 min.: Teach how to retrieve, handle, play the bells. Tell the children that each set of bells is expensive and was a gift from mnay people. Tell them that they need to last for many kindergarten classes for many years, so we need to take care of them very gently. Does anyone have a new baby at their home? How do we take care of a new baby? That is also how you take care of a musical instrument: you are VERY gently. You don’t drop it. You open and close it very carefully.

If possible, have the children take their bells to their desks to play them. How you do this depends on number of students, where you store the bells, and how the teacher wants you to move the children. My best suggestion is to model how you want this done, and then invite the children to go get their bells one group–such as one line or one table–at a time. Tell them what you are looking for, and then praise them specifically for each part that they do correctly. Praise as specifically and as frequently as you can during this first time! (“I love how Fred is walking quietly to pick up his bells. I love how Judy put her bells down on the desk so gently. I love how Cindy opened her case but is waiting quietly for everyone to have their bells out before she gets the mallets out. I love how Roger is holding his mallet up in the air until I say to lower it,” etc.)

5 min.: Teach the children how to write a song. Model a simple composition process for 1 minute, then hand out a 3″x5″ card to each child. Have them write their name on one side of the card, then flip it over and color dots for the notes they want to play.

3 min.: Performances. Ask 3 children (or as many children as there is remaining time) to share their songs with the class. They play the notes that they colored on their 3×5 card. Remind the other children to use their best “audience manners” by listening politely to each performer and then clapping for each person at the end of their performance. The performers acknowledge the audience by bowing. You could also have “turn to your partner” performances if you want.

5 min.: Teach how to put away the bells in a careful and orderly way.

1 minute: Sing “Adios, Amigos” (Goodbye Song).