In Phase 1, students “…explore sound as a means of expressing imaginative ideas.”
Phase 4, students will “…write music in traditional notation…create music that will be refined after sharing with others.” (IBO, 2018, p.22)
Bringing You the Arts Specialists We often listen to that typical phrase: “only musicians can teach music”, and it’s partly right, you need to have musical notions to be able to teach music well to others but this is not something impossible, nor do you need to have a gift, nor does it require a lot of learning time. From my point of view, it requires 3 ingredients: a desire to learn, someone to guide you well and a little love.
This blog entry shares my most recent experience in music education with 5-year-old students, in which it was suggested that music specialists propose a series of activities that end up making the soundtrack of a painting. This was a part of the unit "How We Express Ourselves". In the past, the arts teachers had previously taken the more common route with a trip to the city museum to see a large exhibition of local visual artists, followed by having students create ther own version of masterpieces, such as a self-portrait by Fridah Kahlo. They had also created a small library with books and stories brought from home by the students with different artistic proposals. All very valuable and noble actions. However, this time we were going to step into the realm of risk-takers, with more integration of all of the arts and greater voice through the children's perception of expression.
Guiding Agency with Young Students
When students are exposed to those big ideas, through authentic application, they construct meaning that can be very personal to them. The next step should then be authentic action – steps taken based on what they have learned. Students should feel so inspired by what they’ve learned that they feel compelled to take action. With our younger students, we can present options to support their thinking, ensuring they understand the concepts to be demonstrated. Of course, we allow room for their creativity, particularly through the concept of expression and, bringing integrity to the creative arts. Thus, I designed a series of learning experiences to reach a new outcome:
Create a completely original soundtrack with body sounds and sounds with some daily phones sounds based on the students' own work, choosing 3 different and complex themes such as: A self-portrait, an alphabet or a dove of peace
Possible Lines of Inquiry:
Previously, the students had done their provocation related to the art subject, going to a museum and carrying out a series of provocative activities for pre-assessment, making connections with prior knowledge and inviting curiosity. The usual essential questions and teacher supports were included to guide the process of investigation and introduce the related concepts and key vocabulary:
Investigation Through Concepts: -How body percussion works to produce sounds In the following learning activities, the children experienced how we connected the form of the body and the function of sound in relation to expressing ourselves. This session is completely instrumental. It is about showing students the possibilities of body percussion, without the need for vocal or instrumental action. Proposal 1: We sit in a circle and the teacher proposes different actions such as: Rubbing (lower, upper extremities and body)
Variation 1: Conductor's game. Each student can now make their proposal and all the rest of us imitate him. Variation 2: Spy game. One student stands up and turns his back to the group, on the other side of the class. We all choose a student who will be the conductor of the orchestra. The student who has withdrawn from the group has to guess who has been chosen. Proposal 2: (See video above) We sit in a circle again. On this occasion, the teacher proposes a 4-beat rhythmic pattern, with clapping, and the students have to repeat it. Once 6-8 examples have been made, change the timbres (thighs, chest, head...) and combine them with each other. Variation 1: Chinese chopsticks. Carry out proposal 1 with chopsticks, that is, with indeterminate rhythms, seeking to create different sound environments. Once all the sound possibilities have been discovered, introduce proposal 2.
Following the inquiry process, the children were able to demonstrate their understanding of the music concepts in relation to the unit concepts, presenting their own creations of expression through visual art accompanied with their body percussion. If you are a teacher of the arts, or just looking for more input with a transdisciplinary approach with the arts and single subjects, you can reach out to Sven through Facebook and on his websites below.
P.S. If you'd like more ideas for integrating the ATL skills authentically, take a look at the following articles.