Musication is a collection of video play alongs for boomwhackers, percussion, various melodic versions and you could sing along with the Do Re Mi versions as well. Versions with new layouts have also been added for home learning that are designed to use body percussion or junk percussion.
I have been using the percussion videos with students from reception – Y5, just differentiated slightly depending on the age of the students. For example with older classes, we divided into instrumental sections and took it in turns to play our parts in the right place. Younger students clapped the rhythms.
Each piece of music that I used linked to a wider theme that then became the focus of the lesson or series of lessons supporting one of my overarching musical objectives (there are many, pitch matching, pulse, embodying sound, playing and creating music etc.) learning to follow – a conductor/visual cues for playing along with music. These were first introduced through our warm up games and then consolidated in the other activities.
My favourite thing about using these videos was being able to show the children a performance by a full orchestra or opera company and then ask – shall we play the piece now? It didn’t matter that their part would be playing a tambourine or djembe, they felt that they were playing a ‘real piece of music’,and it really engaged them. No MIDI string sounds here, all the pieces we used were original so the children really were part of the orchestra!
Note – we all swapped instruments all the time so everyone got a turn on the djembe… We also took some time to listen to the sounds that the instruments made, grouped them by timbre – shakers, scrapers, bell sounds etc. and made sure we knew how to hold and play them properly to get the best sounds.
Once we jumped to online learning, we used ‘Found Sounds’. Younger children played just one instrument, while the older ones built their own ‘Found Sound’ orchestras so they could follow the colours and play each on a different ‘instrument’ at home. I wish I was allowed to share some of the video the children submitted, there were some great performances!
Here are a few ways that I used these resources.
Hall of the Mountain King
Our ‘scary themed’ warm ups included:
- 5 Little Monkeys sitting in a tree from Voices Foundation Inside Music 0-5 book. We played a game where we were all crocodiles and had to snap at the monkeys together. To get it right they had to watch me (the conductor) really carefully
- A Monster Came to Visit from Voices Foundation Inside Music 0-5
- Ghosts from Cool4School
- First we discussed what a piece of music with the title In the Hall of the Mountain King might sound like. What is a Mountain King? Why might a King live in a mountain?
- Then we watched this performance which I chose because of the shots of the low pitched instruments, bassoons and cellos, the conductor. I also like the pace of the accelerando and crescendo in this performance. I asked them to listen out for what changed in the music as the piece went on and whether when they heard the music they thought the Mountain King was a ‘goodie’ or a ‘baddie’ and what in the music made them think that
3) Finally we played along with the Musication video, clapping first, then practising the quaver/crotchet patterns and finally adding in instruments
Our over arching theme for this piece of work was about music and movement so our warm ups included:
- Standing in 2 lines and stepping towards each other and stepping back in time to a backing track – this was hard enough for some classes!
- Adding in some clapping inspired by this video
- My name is Joe inspired by this video
- Throw and Catch inspired by this video
- We watched this performance of the Can Can. I asked whether the children thought the first singer was happy or not and how they knew.
2) We then used the percussion play along to play along
Note – it was really hard to find videos of female conductors that did what I needed so in this performance the conductor turtle that we all had to follow was ‘she’.
For fun we watch 42nd street and talked about singing and dancing at the same time and whether that might be easy or difficult to do (referring back to mixed success with the warm ups above!)
William Tell Overture
We just started this before schools closed so we didn’t have a chance to get far with our theme of exploring music that tells a story. However we were able to to discuss the tale of William Tell shooting the apple from the head of his son and talked about how the music sounded like horses galloping. I chose this video for the children to watch first as we were able to then discuss how the orchestra were separated into groups just like we were in our own orchestra! They loved how the conductor looks like a wizard with music coming from his baton and the fast tempo in this performance!